After illegal migrants stormed the southern border at San Ysidro, California, on Sunday, Chris Cabrera of the National Border Patrol Council offered a simple solution for reducing the number of migrant caravan members who are fraudulently seeking asylum.
In an interview with host Laura Ingraham of “The Laura Ingraham Show” on Monday morning, Cabrera suggested placing asylum officers on the front end of the process to make an initial qualification determination as to the validity of asylum claims.
By doing so, “within a couple days or a week,” Cabrera said, “we would see a much smaller number of people actually claiming asylum.”
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Hundreds of migrants on Sunday rushed the U.S. border at multiple points along the San Ysidro port of entry, some attacking agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with rocks and bottles.
The CBP temporarily shut down the port while officers dealt with the mass of migrants attempting violently to make their way across the border.
President Donald Trump on Monday morning threatened to close the border permanently and called for Congress to fund the wall.
“Mexico should move the flag-waving migrants, many of whom are stone-cold criminals, back to their countries. Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!” the president tweeted on Monday morning.
Fifteen days remain for an entirely Republican-controlled Congress to pass legislation designed to accomplish five crucial objectives that Laura Ingraham suggested may stem the tide. These include funding the wall, ending chain migration, mandating E-verify, ending the visa lottery system, and allowing immediate turnbacks for asylum-seekers from non-contiguous countries who present themselves at the border rather than making a claim from within their home country.
Ingraham also noted that this is an opportunity for Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to end his tenure in Congress by doing something meaningful, lasting and positive for our country.
Cabrera likened the current abuse of the asylum process — those claiming it who clearly do not qualify — to “the boy who cried wolf,” and pointed out that this clogs the system for those who legitimately fear for their lives and genuinely need it.
Under the current system, whether new arrivals are here legally or illegally, they can apply for asylum within a year of entering the country.
“We’ve been calling in the Rio Grande Valley for two years to send us help, and nobody has,” said Cabrera, spokesperson for the National Border Patrol Council, noting that CBP and others were aware such a crisis was on the horizon for quite some time.
“Now, instead of being able to fight this on one front, which we could have done a couple years ago, now we have the issue in the Rio Grande Valley, we have it in Laredo, we have it in El Paso, Arizona, and California — so it’s [on] multiple fronts.”
“Now our resources are stretched even thinner than they were in the past,” he added, noting that very few people, based on their pre-interviews, qualify for asylum.
Seeking a better job or improved living conditions, for example, does not qualify a person for asylum.
“They know they’re taking advantage of the system, and they know there is nothing we can do about it,” said Cabrera.
The men and women of the CPB, of course, are left to pick up the pieces when Congress fails to act on immigration reform and when a situation like that of San Ysidro on Sunday occurs.
The only way it changes is for Congress to do its job, Ingraham said.
“The president can’t be held responsible for this. There’s only so much he can do. He has called for an additional 5,000 border patrol agents, yet Congress has failed to act on that. If we had that, we wouldn’t be in this situation where we needed the military to come in and help us,” said Cabrera.
He encouraged lawmakers to act rather than sitting on their hands and hoping to avoid negative political fallout.
“Now, they have a chance to do the right thing,” said Ingraham, emphasizing that only 15 days remain for the GOP-controlled Congress to make sorely needed and sweeping changes to immigration law before Democrats take control of the House in January.
“We get 5,000 a week … We’ve been getting a caravan a week for months now,” said Cabrera, adding that merely by uttering the “magic words” of “political asylum,” migrants are granted the opportunity to see a judge.
That means they are released into the country — often for years — to await that hearing with the judge.
Over the weekend, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) accused the Trump administration of failing to follow the guidelines. Further, he characterized the CBP’s use of tear gas in response to being pelted with rocks and bottles as “outrageous,” since children were present, blaming the United States for the situation.
The problem, Cabrera explained, is that CBP is following the guidelines — but the guidelines themselves are seriously flawed.
Cabrera also expressed concerns about health-related issues, explaining that though people who come legally will not be admitted with certain infectious diseases, those who come with often-fraudulent asylum claims are admitted regardless of their health status.
“We see that every single day,” said Cabrera, noting that those claiming asylum — some with diseases such as tuberculosis — are put on tightly packed buses heading north.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.