MEHLMAN: If You Want to Abuse Our Asylum System, Would You Please Be So Kind As to Use Our App?

REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Ira Mehlman Ira Mehlman is the media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
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The raging border crisis that began the day President Biden took office is clearly by design. His administration wants open borders and they have been wildly successful in achieving that dubious goal. 

The only problem, from the administration’s perspective, is the optics. They’re bad and about to get a whole lot worse: 10,000 migrants a day crossing our southern border illegally in December, and with the end of the COVID-era Title 42 provision (that currently prevents a mere 19 percent of illegal migrants from entering), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expects the numbers to reach 13,000 a day. 

So, with their political future in mind, they have gone to work fixing the optics. In late 2022, they created a special program to parole migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela into the United States – an improper exercise of executive authority that the president does not legally have, but never mind that. Still, the president has a problem because the parole program only allows 1,000 otherwise inadmissible migrants a day to enter the country at airports, rather than crashing to the border, at a time when at least ten times that number are attempting to get here.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration unveiled the next step in its effort to hide the true scope of the illegal migration crisis they have no intention of ending. Phase II came in the form of a 153-page “temporary” rule (temporary, as in ‘get us through the next election cycle’) issued by DHS that is supposed to address “Circumvention of Lawful Pathways” to enter the United States.

From the hair-on-fire reaction of the open borders advocacy coalition, it appeared as though the rule would restore an effective Trump-era policy that required asylum seekers to apply for protection in the first safe country they arrived in, rather than waiting until they reached the U.S. border. But the rule includes a huge exception to that requirement.  

If you use a mobile app called CBP One and schedule an initial asylum hearing at an official port of entry along the border, you will be waved into the country. It may take a little longer, but if you can clear the very low bar for making a “credible fear” claim, you will be allowed to remain in the United States for years until your asylum hearing is scheduled, and be granted work authorization while you wait. And, most importantly from the perspective of the Biden administration, it eliminates the unpleasant scenes of masses of people huddled on the banks of the Rio Grande.

What is also notable about the DHS rule is a rather frank admission on the part of the Biden administration that their plan is really just a more orderly way for people to abuse our political asylum process. The very first sentence of the executive summary states, “economic and political instability (emphasis added) around the world is fueling the highest levels of migration since World War II, including in the Western Hemisphere.”

In other words, the vast majority of the 6 million people who have entered the country illegally since President Biden took office, and countless millions more who hope to follow, are economic migrants, not people fleeing legitimate political persecution in their homelands. Bettering one’s standard of living, or leaving behind corrupt and incompetent governance are understandable human aspirations, but they are not ground for seeking political asylum in the United States. 

Creating orderly processes for people to violate our laws or abuse our humanitarian protections does not address the problem – one the Biden administration does not want to truly solve. It simply moves the problem off the front pages of newspapers and cable news programs, and allows the administration to claim falsely that they have successfully dealt with a problem they created. 

Even if millions of migrants comply with the Biden administration’s request to simply use the app, rather than walk or wade across the border, we will still have millions more illegal migrants who will need housing, health care, education, and other forms of public assistance entering our country. It just won’t look as bad.

Ira Mehlman is Media Director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.