CNN’s Fareed Zakaria said during his most recent broadcast of “Fareed Zakaria GPS” that President Donald Trump is right when it comes to the problems that the United States is facing with asylum abuse.
Zakaria, who opened the segment by noting that he was not a fan of Trump, said, “It pains me to say this, but he is right, that the United States faces a crisis with its asylum system.”
“Democrats might hope that the out-of-control situation at the southern border undermines Trump’s image among his base as a tough guy who can tackle immigration,” Zakaria said. “But they should be careful. It could actually work to the president’s advantage.”
“Since 2014, the flow of asylum seekers into the United States has skyrocketed,” Zakaria continued. “Last year, immigration courts received 162,000 asylum claims. A 240 percent increase from 2014. The result is a staggering backlog with more than 300,000 asylum cases pending and the average immigration case has been pending for more than 700 days. It’s also clear that the rules surrounding asylum are vague, lax and being gamed.”
“The initial step for many asylum seekers is to convince officers that they have a credible fear of persecution in their home countries,” Zakaria added. “And about 75 percent meet that criteria. Some applicants for asylum have suspiciously similar stories using identical phrases. Many simply use the system to enter the U.S. and then melt into the shadows or gain a work permit while their application is pending.”
Zakaria noted that asylum is supposed to be for “a very small number of people in extreme circumstances” and that the definition has become very loose over time and that is a major factor that is contributing to the number of people flooding the U.S. border.
“The criteria for asylum need to be rewritten and substantially tightened. The number of courts and officials dealing with asylum must be massively expanded,” Zakaria added. “People should not be able to use asylum claims as a way to work in America. There needs to be a much greater cooperation with the home countries of these applicants rather than insults, threats and aid freezes.”
“If things continue to spiral downward and America’s southern border seems out of control, Trump’s tough rhetoric and hard line stance will become increasingly attractive to the public,” Zakaria concluded. “Keep in mind, that the rise of populism in the Western world is almost everywhere tied to fears of growing out of control immigration.”