AMAC Exclusive by Aaron Kliegman
The catastrophe currently playing out on our southern border has been caused almost entirely by the Biden administration’s loose (and illegal) application of asylum law. Under Biden’s policies, virtually anyone crossing our border from anywhere in the world is allowed to claim “political asylum” in the United States—a designation intended only for genuinely persecuted individuals. But now, as persecuted Cubans consider fleeing the island in the wake of new government oppression, the Biden administration has suddenly forgotten its affinity for any and all asylum seekers attempting to enter the United States—at least, as long as those asylum seekers are Cuban.
Last week, Biden Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas warned that people fleeing Cuba by boat won’t be allowed to enter the United States, saying that “if you take to the sea, you will not come to the United States.”
Mayorkas added that his warning applies even to those who demonstrate fear of persecution. “If individuals…establish a well-founded fear of persecution or torture, they are referred to third countries for resettlement,” he explained. “They will not enter the United States.” Moreover, he warned that Cubans caught attempting to flee their home country will be returned to Cuba by the Coast Guard.
This hardline approach by Biden and Mayorkas – himself a Cuban immigrant – has many accusing the Biden administration of hypocrisy over its asylum policy.
To understand why, consider the way political asylum works under U.S. law. In order to receive asylum, individuals leaving their own country are supposed to have to demonstrate a “credible fear” of persecution if they return home.
“Credible fear” means that if someone goes home, they will likely be abused, tortured, imprisoned, or killed. And under widely accepted international standards, asylum seekers fleeing genuine persecution are supposed to stop in the first country they reach where they will not be subjected to such persecution.
In other words, genuine asylum seekers are not supposed to be allowed to cross the entirety of Central America and Mexico to request asylum in the U.S.—and even if they do, they are not supposed to qualify for asylum just because they came from less developed, or crime-plagued countries.
Under the Obama and Biden administrations, all of these standards were suspended. U.S. asylum was (and is) granted to migrants from all over the world who did not stop in the first safe country they reached—and nearly all of whom do not have a “credible fear” of persecution.
It was exactly this problem that President Trump attempted to solve while in office—and with extraordinary success. The Trump administration implemented the Remain in Mexico policy, officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols, to address the rampant abuses of America’s asylum system, and also made agreements with many Central American countries to curtail asylum fraud.
President Trump’s asylum policies were not only more logical and humane—they were the primary factor in securing America’s southern border and dramatically reducing illegal immigration under his administration.
President Joe Biden ripped up those policies immediately upon entering the White House. On his first day in office, he halted and then formally ended the Remain in Mexico Policy, and launched historic new waves of illegal immigration to the U.S. border.
Indeed, the Biden administration has actively encouraged illegitimate asylum seekers from central America to come to the US and not to stay in the first safe countries they reach. Just last month, for example, Vice President Kamala Harris said she is “committed to making sure we provide a safe haven for those seeking asylum, period.” A few days later, the administration greatly expanded the number of central American children eligible to apply for asylum in the U.S. while still in their home countries.
All of which brings us to the Biden administration’s policy pertaining to Cuba. Despite actively inviting the rest of Latin America to the United States, the administration is harshly warning Cubans to stay away. Obviously, some of those Cubans actually do have a credible fear of persecution, and Cuba is one of the only nations for which America is the first safe country. Yet Biden is telling Cubans that they will be denied entry, returned to their oppressors, or actively resettled outside of the United States.
The hypocrisy is undeniable. The contradiction warrants an explanation.
It seems that for some reason, Biden’s team specifically wants to exclude Cubans from coming to America. If that is true, the reason why is all too obvious: Unlike other Latinos, the majority of Cuban Americans identify as Republicans. Biden and the Democrats want to open the borders to people from Honduras and Guatemala because, the thinking goes, they’ll vote for Democrats. But those Cubans have seen far-left rule up close and want no more of it. So, we can’t let them in, even if their fears are far more credible than alleged asylum seekers who are currently safe in Mexico.
Democrats relentlessly and baselessly accused President Trump for four years of opposing asylum fraud for political purposes. Now the Biden administration is encouraging asylum fraud, and opposing genuine asylum seekers, for political purposes. It’s not hard to see which is worse.