Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared a “crisis” Thursday over the surge in asylum claims being made by border crossers, blaming the Obama administration and saying the system is “being gamed.”
Sessions, speaking at the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, took aim at policies that allow people to effectively get asylum if they claim to have a “credible fear” of returning home.
Sessions said the Obama administration expanded this by allowing many who passed an initial review to be released from custody into the U.S. pending a hearing. He said the claims, many of them false, are now skyrocketing.
“The system is being gamed. There is no doubt about it. The credible fear process was intended to be a lifeline for persons facing serious persecution,” Sessions said. “But it has become an easy ticket to illegal entry into the United States.”
Sessions revealed startling figures showing an “overwhelming surge.”
‘The system is being gamed. There is no doubt about it.’
– Attorney General Jeff Sessions
In 2009, he said, the Department of Homeland Security conducted more than 5,000 credible fear reviews. By 2016, that number rose to 94,000.
Sessions said the increase in claims has been “especially pronounced and abused” at the border. From 2009 to 2016, the credible fear claims at the border rose from approximately 3,000 cases…