Homeland Security Spokesperson Katie Waldman said migrants seeking entry to the U.S. are essentially allowed in if they claim to have “credible fear” of unjustifiable persecution in their countries of origin. She offered her remarks on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday in an interview with Breitbart News Deputy Political Editor Amanda House.
Waldman said, “I can you tell you with near assurance that if you say the magic words, ‘I’m scared,’ we let you into the country.”
Migrants from Mexico and South America have been coached by left-wing lawyers on how to best obtain entry to the U.S. via asylum request.
“We’re seeing asylum claims skyrocket,” said Waldman. “Before 2013, one out of every 100 arriving aliens claimed credible fear, now it’s one out of every ten. Central America isn’t 100 times — ten times — more dangerous or economically unstable than it was five years ago.”
“These people know our immigration laws better than our own members of Congress,” added Waldman.
Waldman reflected on an earlier caravan of Central American migrants that traveled to the U.S. this past summer.
“We never tracked the caravan migrants from the one back earlier in the summer,” noted Waldman. “Shockingly enough, of the nearly 100,000 family units apprehended from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in 2017, 99 percent remain here today.”
Waldman added, “Of the 34,000 unaccompanied alien children from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador we apprehended in 2017, nearly 98 percent remain in the country today.”
Catch-and-release policies incentivize immigration to the U.S., said Waldman: “We have these wide open catch-and-release immigration loopholes that act as a pull factor for individuals — economic migrants — like we’re seeing in this caravan come towards the United States.”
Waldman continued, “Day in and day out, we see caravan-size apprehensions at the border. There are 2,000 people apprehended almost every single day at the border. This is a crisis.”
Waldman pointed to the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) — legislation sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — as a legislative source of “loopholes” facilitating mass migration to the U.S.
Waldman remarked, “We are seeing these catch and release loopholes — this 2008 Dianne Feinstein’s law that says we treat Central American differently than we treat Mexicans and Canadians. It’s kind of crazy that we can send back a Mexican that we apprehend at the border, but we can’t send back anyone from Honduras, Guatemala, or El Salvador.”
Waldman went on, “Our current immigration laws are a mess because of these catch-and-release loopholes and different court orders, 2008’s Dianne Feinstein’s TVPRA or the Flores Agreement that says you can’t detain family units. All of those have literally led to this crisis at the border and a flood of illegal immigration.”
Waldman noted the increase in apprehensions of unaccompanied alien children at or near the U.S.-Mexico border by Customs and Border Protection.
“In 2000, we were primarily apprehending single adults,” recalled Waldman. “Today, 40 percent of our apprehensions are family units and unaccompanied alien children, both of whom are pretty much exempt from enforcement because of these catch and release loopholes. We can’t detain a family unit for longer than 20 days.”
Waldman explained existing laws prevent law enforcement from detaining migrants until their court dates.
“Right now, if we’re able to apprehend a Central American single adult, we’re able to detain them and remove them within 40 days, but unfortunately, because of the Flores Settlement Agreement, we can’t detain longer than 20 days,” said Waldman. “So we can’t even house them or detain them to be able to remove, so therefore we catch, and literally apprehend, border patrol is literally apprehending the folks who come to our border, but then we have to release them because we cannot detain them longer through their immigration cases.”
“Until we can close those loopholes, we’re going to continue to see these caravans and illegal immigration at record numbers,” concluded Waldman.
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