Once again, Meghan McCain was the lone voice of reason on “The View” this week, this time as the ladies were discussing immigration. She is one courageous woman to hold the only point of rationality in a room full of agitated ignorance. To breakout applause, Joy Behar, Sunny Hostin, and Whoopi Goldberg were opining on the Trump administration’s policy of separating children and families at the border in order to discourage illegal immigration and groundless claims for asylum.
Behar called the policy of separating children from their parents “vicious” and likened it to Nazi Germany, although it is completely within the bounds of asylum law in this country. When a family requests asylum at a port of entry, they must demonstrate a “credible fear” of harm if they return to their home country. Many do. But Border Patrol officers say migrants are being coached to use “magic words” so they will fall within the statute of credible fear.
More and more migrants are using magic words to gain entry. In the past three years, the number of asylum applications from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras increased 234 percent, from 7,723 to 25,801. More individuals sought asylum from the Northern Triangle Countries in 2014, 2015, and 2016 than in the preceding 17 years combined.
“Magic words” aren’t the only tip migrants are getting. According to at least one former immigration judge, parents know to bring children with them to the border so they will be released as a family pending their asylum hearing. The number of families apprehended at the southern border increased by 435 percent in May of this year compared to last.
“The reason the children are there to begin with is this belief [among immigrants] that a parent with a child will not be detained,” says Andrew Arthur, a resident fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.
Compounding the problem, asylum hearings can be scheduled as far as two years out due to the backlog of applications. This fact gives the released migrant family ample opportunity to disappear into the shadows and forget all about that hearing.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently said:
Not surprisingly, many of those who are released into the United States after their credible fear determination from DHS simply disappear and never show up at their immigration hearings. Last year, there were 700 percent more removal orders issued in absentia for cases that began with a credible fear claim than in 2009. In fact, removal orders issued in absentia in all immigration cases have doubled since 2012—with nearly 40,000 in the 2017 fiscal year.
The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy changed the way asylum claims are processed. Instead of letting a backlog build up that takes years to address, we switched to a Last In First Out process. While asylum seekers are still detained, we can process their claims relatively quickly. We don’t have data since the “zero tolerance” policy went into effect, but for FY 2017 only 13,105 asylum applications out of 142,760, or 9 percent, were granted. If current numbers are similar, almost all detained migrants will be deported back to their home country rather than released into the US.
“That’s because the vast majority of current asylum claims are not valid,” Sessions said.
No one wants to separate children from their parents, but it’s the parents themselves who have put their children at risk by bringing them on a dangerous and often deadly trek to our border. Releasing them as a family to await their asylum hearing just encourages more parents to endanger more children. And what of the people in equally dire circumstances who follow our laws? They wait for legitimate asylum while watching others find de facto asylum simply by breaking the law.
That’s hardly Nazi Germany, Joy.
“The law on the books was that domestic and gang violence are grounds for asylum,” Attorney Sunny Hostin insisted. Under the law. Jeff Sessions is now saying it is not grounds.” That’s funny because it took me about two seconds to google the actual law, and it has nothing to do with domestic or gang violence.
To qualify for asylum, you must establish that you are a refugee who is unable or unwilling to return to your country of nationality, or last habitual residence if you have no nationality, because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. One of those five must be a central reason for your fear or well-founded fear of persecution.
What Hostin didn’t say is that the “law on the books” wasn’t an affirmative law but rather a Board of Immigration Appeals decision from December 2016. In vacating the Board’s decision, Sessions found that they failed to apply a longstanding, consistent test for membership in “a particular social group.” The Board with its ruling created an “expansive new category of particular social groups based on private violence,” which Sessions found inconsistent with “the past several decades” of interpretation.
“The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim,” Sessions said.
Hostin’s take simply is not accurate.
Whoopi Goldberg said, “I don’t believe in telling women who are coming here seeking asylum, legally seeking asylum, that we are not interested in having them.” Whoopi also seems to be confused. What we’re doing is clarifying our requirements for asylum and stating that domestic and gang violence do not qualify. It is tragic when people are victims of violence, but it is something their own governments are responsible for fighting. Our asylum laws are meant to protect those persons who are being persecuted by their government, or whose persecution by private individuals is accomplished with tacit government approval.
Feel free to express your feelings, Whoopi, but Congress makes the laws and the courts interpret them. No anarchy allowed.
Meghan McCain sat in dignified silence through all of the rantings and then spoke up. “I disagree with a lot of what everyone’s saying.” She attempted to connect the dots of how we got to such a draconian “zero tolerance” policy, but she was essentially shouted down by the others who claim to know just fine, thank you very much, exactly how we got here.
I’m sure no one was listening, but Meghan had the final word: “We are a nation of borders and laws. If we are a nation without borders and laws, then we are not a nation.”
What is a nation? It’s a group of people with common descent, shared history and culture, and a bounded piece of land to call our own. It just so happens that the American nation is unique in all the world. No other country is an ideal always in the making. Millions of people long to come here because they want to be part of that ideal. The ideal only lives and they can only come if there’s a “here” to come to. A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.