The asylum loophole is breaking the border; Trump’s new directive is a good start at fixing it – Washington Examiner

President Trump has finally stopped banging his head against “THE WALL” and turned his attention to our absurd asylum law, which has led to the near collapse of our whole immigration system, such that we ever had a “system.”

It’s going to come with a legal fight that the White House may very well lose, but it’s the fight the country needs. Even in defeat, there will be some success in just having elevated the issue so that people can see the wreckage at our southern border created by our immigration law’s gaping asylum hole.

The White House announced Monday that it was directing federal agencies to adjust how they manage asylum claims so that they can be adjudicated quicker and so that migrants flooding the system aren’t simply turned loose upon arrival to enjoy their stay.

The directives put a 180-day deadline on deciding asylum cases (they can currently last up to years); place fees on asylum applications (which are now free to whoever shows up and says the magic word); and withhold work permits from asylum applicants who did not enter the United States through a legal port of entry (i.e. illegal border crossers, which make up the vast majority of asylum claims).

Word got out south of the border a long time ago that anyone who wants to take their chances in America needs only to float 50 feet across the Rio Grande, hit the U.S. bank, and find a border agent to claim asylum. Chances of getting to stay are nearly 100% for those who bring children. So that’s what they do, putting children’s lives at risk in the process.

When I went to the Rio Grande Valley sector of the Texas border earlier this year, I watched what appeared to be a young mother, who was from Guatemala, and seven very young minors in her company. They sat on the side of the road, a few feet from the river that they had crossed, and waited for an agent to find them in order to claim asylum.

On the river bank, I looked to the other side and there were dozens of people, waiting their turn to make the crossing and do the same.

The system functions exactly as the law says it should. It’s broken for us, but it works very well for those gaming it.

The immigration legal backlog is at nearly 1 million cases, a number that will only increase without a policy fix. Trump’s directive is at least a look in the right direction.

Democrats in Congress and the ones running for the 2020 presidential nomination are all too happy to keep things the way they are. But it’s not clear that their voters want the same thing.

A new Washington Post poll found that 35% of Americans now say the border situation is in a “crisis,” an 11-point increase from January. That bump was seen across the board by party, but the biggest jump came from Democrats. In January, just 7% of that party’s voters said there was a crisis at the border. In the new poll, it’s 24%.

The asylum loophole is creating a crisis. The White House is doing the right thing by trying to close it.

[Related: GOP sets sights on asylum regulations]

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