Ken Cuccinelli, newly appointed acting Director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, is wasting no time in getting down to the business he was hired to do. In the past week, he emailed officers in his agency charged with interviewing asylum seekers, admonishing them to hold would-be asylees to higher standards than has been common recently. Citing the wide divergence between asylum seekers admitted and those eventually granted asylum, Cuccinelli instructed the officers to employ a stricter reading of the “credible fear” standard when evaluating a migrant’s application.
Asylum is a special status granted to persons who have fled their home country because of a credible fear of persecution. It is not intended and should not be granted to persons leaving for other reasons, such as economic.
A 2017 survey of migrants from the “Northern Triangle” countries of Guatemala, Honduras , and El Salvador showed that fewer than 4% exclusively said they were fleeing violence. Matt O’Brien, a FAIR official, told the Daily Caller, “The vast majority of current Central American asylum seekers—by their own admission—are economic migrants who do not qualify for asylum, because they are not subject to persecution….”
It is this fact that Cuccinelli is instructing his asylum officers to address and to discontinue the essentially rubber-stamp process currently being employed.
Ken Cuccinelli had a good reputation among immigration hawks coming into his job. Actions like the above are a good start, but they will be met by plenty of opposition from the open borders enthusiasts. Let’s hope he sticks to his guns.
For more, see BuzzFeed.