In an unusually candid CNN interview, former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director John Sandweg said that the majority of so-called asylum seekers at the southern border will end up staying in the U.S. “for the rest of their lives.”
The frank admission from the former Obama official undercuts President Biden’s flimsy claim that the border is “secure.”
Once immigrants claim asylum, they can’t be deported until their claim is adjudicated by an immigration judge, Sandweg said.
But America’s immigration system is not built to handle the sheer volume of people who have claimed asylum in recent years, he added.
The system is so backlogged that realistically, most so-called asylum seekers are likely to stay in the U.S. “for the rest of their lives” whether or not their claims have merit.
“The majority of these people are probably in this country for the rest of their lives,” he said. “We have 2 million backed up cases and only 600 judges.”
Former President Trump sought to deal with this problem by raising the bar for asylum claims, over the objections of Democrats including Biden, who called the approach cruel.
But Trump’s strategy worked, as even Biden officials appear to have quietly admitted by their actions.
Biden has continued to use Title 42 as a “band-aid,” Sandweg noted, despite pressure from the left to end the Trump policy, which has been used to send over 2 million immigrants back to Mexico.
“It’s a tool that both the Biden administration continued because it allows them to take these asylum-seekers who would otherwise be present in the United States until this overwhelmed immigration court system could deal with their case and it allows them to forcibly send them back to Mexico,” he said.
Biden has said that the system is “broken,” which is obvious, but his “solution” has been to keep giving immigrants with frivolous claims of persecution incentives to rush the border — dangling amnesty, shielding millions of illegals from deportation, and releasing over 1 million into the country.
The message has been received loud and clear south of the border, where some 20,000 immigrants are waiting to stream across into El Paso once Title 42 ends. While Biden claims he has a plan to deal with the next stage of the crisis, Sandweg was skeptical.
“You’re talking about tens of thousands a day, numbers that DHS [Department of Homeland Security] was not built to handle,” he said.
“And I don’t know that there’s a credible plan to deal with the flood of new cases that’s coming through, and unless and until we deal with that, I don’t think there’s a plan to stop people from coming up to the border.”