The number of claims for asylum by illegal aliens has skyrocketed since 2009, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the Executive Office for Immigration Review in Falls Church, Virginia on Thursday.
A 2009 Obama Administration change to the “credible fear” (asylum) exception now means illegal aliens can escape deportation just by “saying a few simple words,” Sessions said in his address to attendees:
“The system is being abused to the detriment of the rule of law, sound public policy, public safety, and of just claims. This, of course, undermines the system and frustrates officers who work to make dangerous arrests in remote areas.
“Saying a few simple words is now transforming a straightforward arrest and immediate return into a probable release and a hearing—if the alien shows for the hearing.”
As a result, DHS has become overwhelmed with asylum claims since 2009, Sessions said, citing what he called “shocking statistics”:
- The number of credible fear reviews jumped from 5,000 in 2009 to 94,000 in 2016,
- The number of aliens placed in removal proceedings rose from 4,000 to 73,000,
- The number of asylum claims at U.S. borders surged from 3,000 to 69,000,
- The backlog of pending cases in the Executive Office for Immigration Review has tripled to 600,000
“The system is being gamed,” Sessions said, adding that a well-intentioned asylum program has been turned into an “easy ticket” for illegal aliens:
“The credible fear process was intended to be a lifeline for persons facing serious persecution. But it has become an easy ticket to illegal entry into the United States.”