Several Democrats may be surprised to see how far the party has shifted on their standards for asylum since President Barack Obama was in office.
For the past several months, Democrats have been outraged with the Trump administration for their handling of the crisis at the southern border — despite the fact that they denied it was a crisis for most of the year.
When President Donald Trump announced on Monday that he would be tightening up the asylum policies in his administration, several Democrats decried the crack down as an “abdication of American humanitarianism.”
.@realDonaldTrump’s cruel, illegal new asylum restrictions throw away decades of American humanitarianism. This clear overreach is sure to be swiftly & successfully challenged in the courts. https://t.co/S2MKVGktns
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 15, 2019
These are human beings, not political pawns.
They are coming to America in search of a better life.
These new regulations are illegal and flout our asylum laws. They put vulnerable children and families at risk.https://t.co/Eznhkppg2E
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) July 16, 2019
While the Trump administration aims to reduce the number of “meritless asylum claims,” it wasn’t long ago when Obama was expressing the same concern.
In a clip dug up by the Washington Examiner, Obama acknowledged that U.S. asylum laws do not cover those who are looking to escape crime and poverty during White House press gaggle in 2014. The standards for asylum remain much higher than that.
He also acknowledged that it would be better for families to apply for asylum in their home countries, rather than at the U.S. border.
Watch the old footage of Obama:
“Under U.S. law, we admit a certain number of refugees from all around the world based on some fairly narrow criteria. And, typically, refugees status is not granted just based on economic need or because a family lives in a bad neighborhood, or poverty. It’s typically defined fairly narrowly. You have a state, for example, that was targeting a political activists and they need to get out of the country, for fear of prosecution or even death. There maybe some narrow circumstances in which there is a humanitarian or refugee status that a family might be eligible for. If that were the case, it would be better for them to be able to apply in country, rather than take a very dangerous journey all the way up to Texas.”
Obama noted that the second criteria “would not accommodate a large number,” as Americans are seeing today.
As IJR previously reported, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has a bill that would require migrants apply for asylum in their home country, among other changes to U.S. asylum law, to address the crisis at the border.