America’s asylum system is profoundly broken

The asylum system is profoundly broken, and the only way to make it work is to begin with fundamental questions. If poverty, unemployment, crime, spousal abuse, and other non-state-imposed forms of human suffering justify an asylum claim, then there are at least 2 billion people on earth eligible if they can make it over the border.

If every asylum claim must be adjudicated by a quasi-judicial tribunal, then appealed, then enforced only after another quasi-judicial tribunal and another appeal, then the asylum system becomes an invitation for abuse, joined to a full-employment scheme for immigration lawyers.

Unlike asylum seekers, refugees who seek entry into the United States are managed through an entirely executive process. The U.S. decides on the number of refugees it will take and from which countries, and deputes selection of individuals to the Department of State. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s fast and efficient compared to the shambles of asylum.