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DHS Chief: Caravan Migrants Must Seek Asylum in Mexico

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JOSE CASTANARES/AFP/Getty Images

Migrants seeking asylum at the southern border must ask for asylum in the safe countries they transit, says Homeland Defense Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

“Individuals of the ‘caravan’ seeking asylum or other similar claims should seek protections in the first safe country they enter, including Mexico,” Nielsen said in an April 25 statement.

The statement spotlights the administration’s legal defenses against the roughly 1,000 caravan migrants trying to get through the legal loopholes in the border wall. Attorney General Jeff Sessions used similar language in an April 23 statement about the caravan migrants, saying “these individuals—and their smugglers—ignored the willingness of the Mexican government to allow them to stay in Mexico.”

The emphasis on migrants’ refusal asylum in Mexico may help U.S. immigration judges quickly reject migrants’ requests to file asylum claims — and later justify the rejection to U.S. judge when once pro-migration groups file multiple lawsuits in U.S. courts.

According to the relevant federal regulation, “an alien is considered to be firmly resettled if, prior to arrival in the United States, he entered into another nation with, or while in that nation received, an offer of permanent resident status, citizenship, or some other type of permanent resettlement.” Mexico does offer and grant asylum to people from Central America.

Mexican officials, however, are resisting the U.S. argument that migrants can get asylum in Mexico, creating room for officials to block the migrant flow northwards in exchange for U.S. trade concessions. Politico reported:

“That’s not in the cards for now,” Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray said Wednesday of such a pact. “We’re not discussing that.”

“We have a strong willingness to do things together and cooperate,” he told Morning Shift. “[But] immigration policies of Mexico are set and defined only by Mexico and its people.”

Hundreds of the caravan migrants are expected to ask U.S. border officers for permission to file asylum claims this weekend.

The caravan migrants, whose estimated numbers range from 600 to 1,500, have been bussed northwards from Guatemala by a pro-migration, open-borders group. Along the way, the group has rested in various facilities and conducted media-magnified political demonstrations demanding a legal right to work in the United States.

In his Monday statement, Sessions added:

This is a deliberate attempt to undermine our laws and overwhelm our system. There is no right to demand entry without justification …

Accordingly, I have directed our U.S. Attorneys at the border to take whatever immediate action to ensure that we have sufficient prosecutors available. I have also directed that we commit any additional necessary immigration judges to adjudicate any [asylum] cases that may arise from this ‘caravan.’”

Nielsen’s Thursday statement said the department is moving people up to the border to quickly deal with the migrants. “DHS, in partnership with DOJ, has taken a number of steps to ensure the necessary resources are in place to promptly adjudicate all cases and claims, through either our civil immigration system or through criminal prosecution, consistent with our laws,” she said.

Under existing laws, migrants can walk through Nielsen’s border guards to ask border officers and Justice Department immigration judges for permission to file asylum claims in federal courts.

That screening process is tightly governed by existing laws and court precedents and sets a very low threshold of “credible fear.” The low threshold ensures that border officers and immigration judges can only reject migrant requests if the asylum claims are very weak.

After they are allowed to file an asylum claim, the migrants are released into the United States because they cannot be held in detention because the immigration-court system is so backlogged with more than 700,000 other asylum applications that the first available court dates can be two or three years in the future.

In 2018, Congress refused to create more detention spaces for migrants. Most of the agency’s detention facilities are almost fully occupied by other people who were caught trying to sneak across the border. The border jumpers are held until they are identified and processed, although some are also sent to jail.

Also, a 1997 court settlement, dubbed the Flores settlement, says officials cannot hold migrants with children for more than 20 days.

Once the asylum-seeking migrants are released, they are also allowed to apply for work permits.

Many poor migrants rationally use these “catch and release” loopholes to work legally in the United States for a few years, and many of those migrants also walk away from their asylum claims to work as illegal immigrants.

In 2017, the inflow crashed when Trump was elected. But is rising again because Congress has refused to change the border laws. In fact, more than 100,000 migrants have used the loopholes to walk through the walls since Trump was inaugurated.

Pro-migration advocates carefully describe these legal loopholes to migrants.

However, Sessions is taking a variety of steps to reverse Obama’s open-border policies.

Every year, 4 million Americans turn 18 and begin looking for good jobs in the free market.

But the federal government inflates the supply of new labor by annually accepting roughly 1.1 million new legal immigrants, by providing work-permits to roughly 3 million resident foreigners, and by doing little to block the employment of roughly 8 million illegal immigrants.

The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via mass-immigration floods the market with foreign laborspikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up real estate priceswidens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.

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Polls show most Americans support Trump’s view of America as a nation of Americans, wrapped in a network of mutual obligations.

Immigration polls which ask people to pick a priority, or to decide which options are fair, show that voters in the polling booth put a high priority on helping their families and fellow nationals get decent jobs in a high-tech, high-immigrationlow-wage economy. Those results are very different from the “Nation of Immigrants” polls which are funded by CEOs and progressives, and which pressure Americans to say they welcome migrants.

 

 

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