Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano that reveals the Obama administration policy of asylum overwhelms the ability to enforce laws. This comes in the wake of a Breitbart News story about the sudden surge of “credible fear” requests at Mexico/U.S. border crossings.
The letter begins by referencing the story that Breitbart News brought to national prominence:
Dear Secretary Napolitano,
I write regarding the recent surge in foreign nationals, largely from Mexico, claiming asylum at U.S. ports of entry. This surge has been overwhelming Border Patrol agents in San Diego, California. Border Patrol agents reported that in one day 200 aliens came through the Otay Mesa, San Diego port of entry while as many as 550 overflowed the processing center there and in nearby San Ysidro claiming a “credible fear” of the drug cartels in Mexico.
Rep. Goodlatte then lays out the concern that another Breitbart News story pointed out–that the asylum process is being exploited by Mexican nationals–and highlights the surge in such claims since 2009:
Such claims have increased from 5,222 in 2009 to 23,408 in just the first three quarters of 2013. According to the most recent data available, DHS is permitting 92% of these claimants to move forward to further proceedings, despite the fact that press reports indicate that up to 91% of these claimants from Mexico are ultimately denied. In addition, most are likely being released into the U.S. pending further proceedings before Immigration Judges as opposed to being detained as required by law.
At the end of the letter, Goodlatte reveals the smoking gun: the change in immigration policy implemented by Obama officials that appears to have created the loophole that has led to the increase in asylum claims.
…this process has been changed by the current Administration via executive fiat. On December 9, 2010, Director Morton issued an ICE policy directive that is contrary to the statute and the regulations. Under this policy directive, any arriving alien who has been found to have a credible fear and can establish identity, that they are not a flight risk, or a danger to the community, should be released by ICE. The memo required ICE field offices to document the parole decisions in a “Record of Determination /Parole Determination worksheet.” This is inconsistent with the Congressional mandate in statute that requires detention.
Rep. Goodlatte is saying something very significant here; the Obama administration made a significant shift in 2009 about the way the United States deals with people asking for asylum and changed the burden of proof for detention. Prior to 2009, the policy for those requesting asylum was that they were detained unless. In the Obama era, the default is that those seeking asylum are released on their own recognizance. Just as significant, the Obama ICE did this without approval from congress.
Breitbart News is waiting for the Department of Justice to respond to a request for more details in the rates of no-shows at the immigration trials for Mexican nationals.
Below is the complete text of Rep. Goodlatte’s letter: