While some claim those part of the migrant caravan at the U.S.-Mexico border are seeking asylum in the United States, others flip that narrative, saying some of the Central Americans haven’t articulated the need for asylum.
The Department of Homeland Security revealed the truth behind the “lawless migrant caravan” who “violently attempted to storm our Southern border, attack our border agents and illegally enter the United States.”
DHS spokesperson Katie Waldman shared with IJR what makes one eligible for asylum and the tiny percentage a judge deems eligible — also shining a light on how many immigrants claim asylum but then disappear into the United States.
Waldman made it clear that “greater economic opportunity or family reunification are not grounds for claiming asylum.”
As Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen previously shared in a statement, a majority of those in the caravan are not truly eligible for asylum.
“The overwhelming majority of these individuals are not eligible for asylum in the United States under our laws.”
Waldman explained how a person is eligible for asylum only if the “foreign national has suffered, or has a well-founded fear that they will suffer, persecution due to: Race, Religion, Nationality, Membership in a particular social group, or Political opinion.”
“Simply wanting to get a job or connect with family in the U.S. does not make one eligible for asylum,” Waldman said, adding that immigrants may take another path of applying for a visa program.
She stated that the Mexican government hasn’t offered the immigrants asylum, however, some have been offered jobs in Mexico — with most of them turning down the offer.
The legal loopholes in the U.S. laws are encouraging immigrants to “claim credible fear” at the border, “knowing they will be promptly released into the interior with work permits pending the determination of their full claim.”
Statistics revealed by the DHS show that 65 percent of those at the border seeking asylum are Central Americans, with 89 percent passing their initial interview.
Then, the shocking statistic reveals the truth.
Only 31 percent of those immigrants return for their hearing and 40 percent don’t file an application following the first interview.
“Only 9 percent of Northern Triangle petitioners are found eligible for asylum by a judge – leaving 91 percent ineligible for asylum.”
Many of those 91 percent of immigrants disappear into the U.S. to live and work illegally after they had promised to show up for their hearing.
“In FY17, only 1 percent of the 226,119 removals conducted by ICE were on Alternatives to Detention,” according to the DHS.
Waldman laid down the fact that only nine percent of asylum seekers are found eligible, which is expending limited resources, such as court space and asylum officers’ time, detention space, and immigration judges.
“If these people – the 91 percent who are not eligible – did not insist, based on bad legal advice as part of an open borders advocacy group strategy of flooding the asylum system devoted to ‘breaking’ our legal immigration system, we would have more than a sufficient number of resources to fulfill our international and moral humanitarian obligations in a far more timely manner.”
After criticism toward President Donald Trump suggesting there were MS-13 gang members amongst the caravan, the U.S. Border Patrol reported that they arrested a member who admitted to being a part of the gang and had the intent to enter the U.S. illegally.