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PoliZette

Many Border Migrants ‘Are Not Legitimate Asylum Seekers’

Tom Homan, former acting ICE director, addressed the 'metering' policy — and the need for security, loophole fixes

Many of the migrants from Central American countries seeking asylum in the U.S. “are not legitimate asylum seekers.” That’s because the mere fear of violence alone isn’t enough to qualify legally under U.S. law, former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting Director Thomas Homan said Tuesday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”

Trump administration officials are trying to limit the number of migrants seeking asylum and are urging them to turn back by implementing a “metering” policy requiring the migrants to make their claim at a port of entry.

This policy has outraged pro-illegal immigration activists — and has resulted in lawsuits filed against President Donald Trump’s administration.

Congress and Trump are struggling to reach a budget agreement ahead of a potential partial government shutdown this week. The president is demanding full border wall funding, though Democratic leaders thus far are refusing to budge. Yet a possible compromise or other solutions are being worked on as of Tuesday, as LifeZette reported earlier in the evening.

The border wall funding showdown took off after thousands of Central Americans traveling with the so-called migrant caravan traveled through Mexico and sought entry into the U.S.

Many are seeking asylum.

But Homan (pictured above left) wondered, “If they are really escaping fear and persecution from Honduras, they’re in Mexico, all right? They’ve already escaped that fear and persecution. And they ought to be claiming asylum in the first safe place they come to.”

“A couple thousand people already took Mexico up on that,” Homan also said to host Laura Ingraham. “So it isn’t about escaping fear and persecution. This is about getting to the United States because of maybe violence, because of maybe rejoining family members that are illegally already here.”

During Homan’s tenure at ICE, enforcement officials “removed thousands of people from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to their countries every day, and there’s no claim of fear,” Homan said.

“These claims are false,” he also said. “These are people that want to come to this country for a better life. Can’t blame them for that. But you can’t want to be a part of the greatest country on earth and not respect its laws. You can’t have it both ways.”

Immigration and human rights attorney Lisa Johnson-Firth, also a guest on “The Ingraham Angle,” claimed that Mexico wasn’t a “safe place,” arguing that this is why many caravan migrants passed through Mexico seeking the U.S.

But Homan responded, “Very few Mexicans claim asylum, so I don’t agree with Mexico not being a safe place.”

Johnson-Firth argued that the Trump administration’s “metering” practice that limits asylum claims to ports of entry is “basically forcing a huge population to go through very small entry points.”

“And in the process of waiting, those people are subject to violence while they’re waiting,” Johnson-Firth said. “I just interviewed a woman last week who was raped while waiting at the border. She’s actually been gang-raped 60 times in her process of coming to the United States.”

“And so I think we’re increasing the danger,” Johnson-Firth warned.

The attorney did admit, however, that the metering policy “obviously” encourages some migrants to turn back.

“I think it is a way the government’s discouraging people from legitimately presenting asylum claims at the border that they’re entitled to under U.S. law and under international law,” Johnson-Firth claimed.

Related: ‘No Downside to Securing Our Border,’ Says Homan

But Homan argued that “most of these people are not legitimate asylum seekers,” as “violence is not a claim for asylum, and 90 percent of them will lose it.”

“What the politicians ought to be doing — rather than going out there and pulling a political ploy like they’re doing — they ought to be here in Washington, D.C., fixing the loopholes in our immigration laws that causes these caravans to even exist in the first place,” Homan suggested.

Ingraham blamed lawmakers for inaction ahead of a potential government shutdown, saying, “I think the politicians have really blown this.”

“I mean, I have no doubt that horrific things — we already know horrific things have happened to children, to women and to others … But politicians refuse to do what they need to do to make this system work,” Ingraham said.

Homan recommended lawmakers “raise the asylum bar” and “give ICE detention money so it’s not back to catch-and-release.”

“If they close these loopholes, they will stop a lot of this illegal immigration,” Homan said. “But it isn’t about protecting the border. It isn’t about closing loopholes. It’s about taking on the Trump administration. It’s about politics ahead of public safety and national security.”

Check out the discussion in the video below:

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PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected].