According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a sudden influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico requesting asylum has overwhelmed the system. In fact, documents recently obtained by Fox News reveal that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been paying for hotel rooms for illegal immigrants and their families owing to overcrowded processing centers in San Ysidro and Otay Mesa, California. Some now believe that the increase is actually an orchestrated effort.
In just one day last week, 200 Mexicans crossed the border through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry asking for asylum, while 550 people already overflowed the processing center.
“People were sleeping on floors — they had nowhere to put them,” said one source, a long-time border agent and supervisor. “This shouldn’t be happening. Unless there is an immediate and well-publicized policy change, this situation will become another debacle.”
ICE employees are being asked to work overtime and requests have been made for others to volunteer to work weekend shifts, notes a memo obtained by Fox News. “Duties include intake, placements, transports and release of family groups and unaccompanied minors,” the memo reads.
Because the processing centers are unable to house the overwhelming numbers, nearby hotels are being utilized by ICE. One hotel near San Diego witnessed the arrival of ICE vans several times throughout the weekend with immigrant families, who were escorted by two armed, uniformed agents. Two others were used to secure the entrance and side door.
Fox News notes that other hotels have been overwhelmed by the surge of illegal immigrants at the expense of the taxpayers:
Documents obtained by Fox News show that recently on a single day, dozens of illegal immigrants were being transferred to an area hotel where rooms cost $99 a night. Others were released to addresses in Texas, Florida and even Brooklyn, N.Y.
ICE sources report that the addresses provided by the illegal immigrants are typically false, and when the immigrant does not report for court, they are removed by an immigration judge in absentia.
While the majority of immigrants are from Mexico, some are also from Haiti, Iraq, Guatemala, and Romania.
Those who are entering illegally have learned that they can receive asylum by using some key words, including asserting that they have a “credible fear” of drug cartels. This has some suspicious that there is an effort behind the surge. “This clearly has to have been orchestrated by somebody,” said former U.S. Attorney for Southern California Peter Nunez. “It's beyond belief that dozens or hundreds or thousands of people would simultaneously decide that they should go to the U.S. and make this claim.”
The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement on the increase of “credible fear” asylum requests.
Credible fear determinations are dictated by long standing statute, not an issuance of discretion. The USCIS officer must find that a "significant possibility" exists that the individual may be found eligible for asylum or withholding or removal.
If the credible fear threshold is met, the individual is placed into removal proceedings in Immigration Court. The final decision on asylum eligibility rests with an immigration judge.
Fox News reports that 91 percent of asylum claims from Mexico are denied. Asylum requests from Mexico are very unusual, leading critics to call the increase in requests an orchestrated charade because it provides the immigrants an opportunity into the United States, allows them to overwhelm the system, and secure a court date for which they never show up. According to ICE sources, anywhere from 600,000 to 800,000 illegal immigrants a year do not show up for their court date.
“Hundreds of thousands of people have never returned and the list of people for whom warrants are outstanding is phenomenal,” said Nunez. “We have a long history of people absconding from immigration hearings of one sort of another; they just blend back into the community.”
And the Senate Gang of Eight bill will likely provoke a further spike in those seeking asylum. Currently, those who come to the United States seeking asylum face a one year deadline to apply for a visa, but as noted by the Washington Post in April, the Senate Gang of Eight’s bill would lift that deadline. Those supporting this provision contend that the deadline shuts out those who legitimately seek asylum, but supporters of the deadline assert it prevents fraud.
Human Events opined that the new surge of asylum-seekers “looks like a deliberate Cloward-Piven strategy to overwhelm the system, taking advantage of the weaknesses deliberately inserted into U.S. immigration policy.”
And even without asylum, illegal immigrants are finding it easier to stay in the United States. “The orders from Washington are to simply turn these people loose,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “All you have to say is you qualify for the Dream Act and/or you intend to apply, and they’re instructed by their higher-ups to simply turn these people loose, to set them free and let them pursue any path they want.”