Asylum claims on the increase

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of asylum claims based on ‘credible fear’ since the 2009 enactment of President Barack Obama’s ‘catch and release’ policy. This is according to a new Center for Immigration Studies report. The report used statistics from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services statistics to show the increase of asylum petitions since 2004.

The author of the report is Jessica Vaughn, the director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. She says that the US has no obligation to accept the influx of undocumented immigrants and allow them into the country, contrary to the views of immigrant advocates and the Obama administration. She adds that the influx is a direct result of the Obama administration policies rather than a consequence of foreign events.

According to current asylum law, applicants for asylum should be kept in custody until a full review of their claim has been conducted. The catch and release policy initiated by the executive action by the President has meant that undocumented immigrants can be released the moment initial approval is given to their claims of credible fear. This accounts for around 90 percent of all such claims, despite evidence demonstrating that only 30 percent of these were free of fraud.

Applicants are also able to apply for a work permit if their case is still pending after 150 days. Many applicants have to wait years before they face an immigration hearing, which several immigrants ultimately fail to attend.