DHS Secretary: 1 in 10 Arriving Aliens Claim ‘Credible Fear’ to Seek Asylum in U.S.

Melanie Arter | April 5, 2018 | 11:42am EDT
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DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (Screenshot)

(CNSNews.com) - One in 10 arriving aliens claim “credible fear” - the first step in the U.S. asylum process, compared to one out of every 100 arriving aliens who did so before 2013, DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen said Wednesday.

Nielsen detailed the loopholes that illegal aliens exploit to avoid detention and removal from the United States.

“While we have been apprehending aliens at the border with historic efficiency, these illicit smuggling groups saw that our ability to actually remove those who come here illegally did not keep pace. They saw that there were loopholes they could exploit to avoid detention and removal, and let me give you some numbers to put how that has changed the context of our immigration and border security system,” she told reporters.

“Before 2013, approximately one out of every 100 arriving aliens claimed credible fear, which is the first step in the United States asylum process. Today, more than one out of 10 do so,” the secretary said.

“Why this matters is because this number unfortunately demonstrates and is indicative of the rising level of fraud that plagues our system. This prevents us from timely helping those who really do need asylum. When we have to deal with the fraud and the backlogs, we are unable to help those truly in need,” Nielsen added.

Furthermore, she said smugglers and traffickers are taking advantage of the system by encouraging illegal aliens to arrive as a family unit, compared to single adult males.

“Before 2011, over 90 percent of arriving aliens were single adult males. Today, 40 percent are families and children. The traffickers and smugglers know that if you arrive with a family under our current legal and court system, you have a much better chance of being released into the United States. We have seen the smugglers advertise this as an enticement, and we have seen traffickers unfortunately fraudulently use children to gain entry into our country,” Nielsen said.

Also, the demographic of arriving illegal immigrants has changed, with more illegals coming to the U.S. from Central America, she said.

“Before 2009 - the last stat here - 90 percent of arriving aliens were Mexican nationals. Today, nearly 50 percent are from Central America. The traffickers and smugglers know that these individuals cannot under U.S. law be easily removed back to their country of origin, and so they exploit the loophole,” Nielsen explained.

“Each of these reflect the effects of legislative and legal loopholes that have made it that much more difficult to remove the bulk of those we apprehend, whether they are criminals, traffickers, gangs, or illegal aliens,” she said.

“Those falsely claiming asylum know that if they use the magic words, ‘credible fear,’ because of the low threshold that currently exists and because of the very large backlog, they will be released with work permits into the interior for many years before they see a judge,” the secretary added.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has prompted more illegals to arrive at the border with the hopes that action will be deferred for them as well, Nielsen said.

“In 2012, when DACA was offered, families with children similarly understood that deferred action was on the table, and the possibility of further future deferred action has caused additional migration that continues through today,” she said.

“This is exacerbated because of the deeply flawed Flores Settlement Agreement, one that we have talked about before, and because of our inability to use expedited removal authority for all unaccompanied alien children,” Nielsen added. “Because of this, we do see many more Central American families with children attempting to enter the country illegally, many more than a decade ago.

“Smugglers themselves are gaming the system, pure and simple. They take advantage of the loopholes in our laws. They know that we cannot prosecute as we need to to stop their behavior. And we know, in some cases, it takes many years for them to be removed. This, in addition, creates a massive magnet for additional illegal immigration, TCO activity, and criminal activity across our border,” she said.

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