The ACLU is suing Attorney General Jeff Sessions as his asylum reforms are causing a “dramatic” drop in the number of economic migrants who pass the initial credible-fear test needed to win asylum and get jobs in the United States.
“Starting in January 2018, court findings of credible fear began to plummet,” says a report by TRAC Reports, Inc., a non-profit based at Syracuse University which collects asylum and immigration-related data. The “dramatic change” is shown in the data, says TRAC:
By June 2018, only 14.7 percent of the CFR [credible fear] Immigration Court decisions found the asylum seeker had a “credible fear.” This was just half the [30 percent] level that had prevailed during the last six months of 2017 …
Unless the asylum seeker who is otherwise subject to expedited remova passes the [courtroom] CFR review, he or she is not allowed even to apply for asylum. This applies to most parents arriving with children at the southwest border. As a consequence, individuals who don’t pass these reviews are usually quickly deported back to their home countries.
The latest results include the impact of reforms set in 2017 by Sessions, who is gradually reversing the catch-and-release policies put in place by former President Barack Obama.
The next set of monthly data is expected to show a further large drop because of the additional asylum reforms announced by Sessions in June and July 2018. The drop may return asylum levels to the 10 percent mark set in 2013.
In response, the ACLU has filed its lawsuit against Sessions’ June reforms on August 7, in the left-leaning federal U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia. The ACLU asked the federal courts to assume control over the Justice Department’s immigration courtrooms, saying:
The government has now directed asylum officers to fully implement those new, illegal rules to credible fear screenings — leading to unjustified deportations of vulnerable refugees like Grace. And the guidance to asylum officers goes even further, directing them to ignore any court rulings that are inconsistent with Sessions’ new decision. That direction conflicts with the Constitution’s separation of powers principles because, as the Supreme Court explained 200 years ago, it is the courts, not executive branch officials that must ultimately decide “what the law is.”
The flow of economic migrants into the United States was jump-started in 2010 by pro-migration policies set by deputies for President Barack Obama. Since then, roughly 500,000 poor Central American migrants have since settled in the United States, including many who were granted provisional asylum because Obama’s deputies declared they would provide asylum to people who claimed abuse by spouses or threats from gangs.
In 2015, a judge declared that border officials must release migrants who bring children, so creating the huge “Flores” loophole and prompting a wave of child-carrying migrants.
The resulting large population of resident migrants is attracting more migrants from Central America, including parents who wish to leave their children with illegal-immigrant relatives in the United States.
The mass migration has delivered a huge supply of cheap labor to companies based in Democratic-run cities. For example, in 2017, the Department of Homeland Security was forced to provide 400,000 work permits to asylum-seekers. That huge number is equal to one extra migrant for every 10 Americans who turned 18 in 2017.
Business groups, business-first Republicans, and Democrats have welcomed the cheap labor, which forces down wages for Americans.
But President Donald Trump is working to curb the supply of wage-lowering migrant labor to business groups. This summer, business executives have complained bitterly when they are forced to compete for workers by offering higher wages. The Washington Post reported the complaints of restaurateur Steve Carb who was forced to raise wages to fill just 900 of the 1,000 open jobs at his 12 restaurants in Hilton Head:
Dishwashers earn $13 an hour instead of the $10 they earned a couple of years ago. Line cooks are paid $15 to $18 an hour, instead of $13 to $15. Additional overtime costs mean tweaking the menu to stay profitable, from switching to smaller shrimp to raising the price of a plate of fish and chips by 30 cents.
“The whole island is a disaster zone right now,” said Carb, president and founder of SERG Restaurant Group. “It’s been a nightmare.”
The ACLU, Democrats and business-first Republicans — including Kansas GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder — are now working to undermine Sessions’ successful asylum reforms.
For example, on July 25, the GOP-led House Committee on Appropriations voted to bar government officials from spending any time or money on Sessions’ reform. The vote to revive Obama’s catch-and-release policies was taken as legislators debate and vote on amendments to the 2019 spending bill. The bill will be reviewed next by the rules committee — which is controlled by House Speaker Paul Ryan — and then will be sent to the floor for a vote.
The critical amendment was proposed by North Carolina Democrat David Price. It was passed on a voice-vote with support from committee chairman Yoder, the new chairman of the homeland defense subcommittee. All 30 GOP members of the committee voted for the final spending package, complete with the Yoder-endorsed catch-and-release language, plus three additional measures easing the flow of cheap blue-collar and white-collar labor into the United States.
Amid growing protest, Yoder issued a vague statement on August 3 saying he would fix the catch-and-release problem he created.
Rep. Yoder outlines fix for his revival of Obama's catch & release border policies. But he & 29 GOP Reps silent on their curbing migrant-detentions, growing 2 cheap-labor visa programs, risky giveaway to 200K visa-workers in Indian w-collar outsourcing biz https://t.co/tT29D05pdW
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) August 3, 2018
The courtroom attacks on Sessions’ successful reforms are led by the ACLU’s Washington lawsuit. In an August 7 statement, the group said:
it has long been clear that an asylum seeker fleeing persecution by someone who is not the government — like a gang, an intimate partner, or a powerful political or social group — is eligible for asylum if she can show that the government is “unable or unwilling” to protect her, meaning that the government will not provide effective protection. But Sessions now wants applicants to have to show that their government either “condoned” the violence or other harm or was “completely helpless” to stop it.
That is not the law and never has been. But the government has now directed asylum officers to fully implement those new, illegal rules to credible fear screenings — leading to unjustified deportations of vulnerable refugees like Grace. And the guidance to asylum officers goes even further, directing them to ignore any court rulings that are inconsistent with Sessions’ new decision. That direction conflicts with the Constitution’s separation of powers principles because, as the Supreme Court explained 200 years ago, it is the courts, not executive branch officials that must ultimately decide “what the law is.”
The lawsuit presents several plaintiffs who have fled countries where legal standards and civic societies are far below the developed levels which evolved in Europe and the United States, and it claims that federal officials have a legal duty to allow afflicted people to live in the United States. According to the Washington Post:
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 12 migrants from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — eight women, one man and three children. All failed their initial “credible fear” interviews, which is one of the first steps for asylum seekers in the fast-track removal process. Two of the children and their mothers have been deported; the rest of the plaintiffs are detained in Texas and New York. None were separated from their children.
The lead plaintiff is a Guatemalan woman who said a former partner raped her repeatedly, attacked her daughter until the younger woman suffered a miscarriage, and stole the title to their house.
Another plaintiff, a Honduran woman, said she escaped gang members who killed her father-in-law and beat her so badly she was unable to walk. A third said her husband in El Salvador has threatened to kill her. A recently orphaned teenager said she fled El Salvador because a violent gang moved into her home after her mother died.
“Providing shelter, safety, and a new life to the victims of persecution has long been part of our national identity, even if not always an ideal we have lived up to,” the ACLU declared in a statement, adding:
The Trump administration’s effort to eliminate that protection betrays our values and flouts our laws. The courts must step in to stop it.
A 2012 Gallup poll showed that 150 million poor people want to migrate to the United States. One organizer of the 1,500-person April “caravan” from Honduras to the United States border told CNN that “the caravan is just a drop in an ocean of people trying to escape violence in Central America.”
Trump was elected in 2016 on a popular promise to ensure that immigration laws serve Americans, not foreigners or investors.
Four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market — but the government provides green cards to roughly 1 million legal immigrants and temporary work-permits to roughly 3 million foreign workers.
The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via immigration shifts wealth from young people towards older people by flooding the market with cheap foreign labor. That process spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. The policy also drives up real estate prices, widens 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.
The huge influx of cheap labor has helped to stall Americans’ wages since the 1970s:
Business groups and Democrats tout polls which prod Americans to declare support for migrants or the claim that the United States is a “Nation of Immigrants.” The alternative “priority or fairness” polls — plus the 2016 election — show that voters in the polling booth put a much higher priority on helping their families, neighbors, and fellow nationals get decent jobs in a high-tech, high-immigration, low-wage economy.