Fareed Zakaria: Our asylum laws are 'vague, lax, and being gamed'

Fareed Zakaria: Our asylum laws are 'vague, lax, and being gamed'

Sunday, Fareed Zakaria did a segment about the crisis at the border in which he stated the facts that few reporters seem interested in talking about. Speaking of Trump, Zakaria said, “He is right that the United States faces a crisis with its asylum system.”

Zakaria went on to offer a warning to Democrats. Highlighting the chaos at the border might help energize left-wing voters as a way to further demonize the president, but it also suggests that something more drastic needs to be done to resolve the problem and that will wind up playing into Trump’s hands in 2020. He’s right. The perfect scenario for Democrats going into 2020 is a calm border that robs Trump of one of his favorite issues. On the other hand, an ideal scenario for Trump is mass immigration that is overwhelming our system. Right now, that’s what we’ve got.

What’s good about this clip is that Zakaria isn’t just gaming out political scenarios. He also offers an explanation for why this is happening. That explanation will be very familiar to regular Hot Air readers but I wonder if this isn’t the first time some CNN viewers have heard it.

“Since 2014, the flow of asylum seekers into the United States has skyrocketed,’ Zakaria said. He 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 immigration 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 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.

“Asylum is meant to be granted to a very small number of people in extreme circumstances, not as a substitute for the process of immigration itself. Yet the two have gotten mixed up.”

Zakaria notes that asylum laws were created by the UN after Jews were turned away by other countries when they tried to flee Nazi Germany. But over the years the standard for asylum has gotten broader. It’s not only open to people fleeing genocide but to anyone who can claim they were threatened by a gang or that they are a victim of domestic violence. Granted both of those things are real and terrible problems but we have those same problems here.

And then Zakaria gets to the real problem with all of this. As things now stand, “Hundreds of millions of people around the world who live in poor, unstable regions where threats of violence abound could easily apply for asylum. Do they all have the legal right to enter the U.S. through a back door, bypassing the normal immigration process?”

Nearly all of the Democrats running for president and most in Congress seem to believe the answer is yes. Some are even calling for decriminalizing border crossing and abolishing ICE, effectively creating open borders, i.e. people might get a ticket when they cross but once they’re in, they’ll never be asked to leave.

Zakaria understands that this is not a tenable situation. “The criteria for asylum need to be rewritten and substantially tightened…People should not be able to use asylum claims to work in America,” he said.

All of this makes perfect sense but these days saying it almost guarantees you’ll be demonized as a racist. Indeed, Zakaria does this to Trump at the beginning of this clip even while admitting he’s right. Still, it’s a hopeful sign that the truth about what is happening has broken out at CNN. Trump administration spokespeople and surrogates should be forced to watch this on a loop until they can quote it verbatim and go on CNN to repeat it over and over until it sinks in with some portion of the anti-Trump viewership.


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Video