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    'Nearly Everyone Who Asks for Political Asylum is Allowed to Enter US' - FAIR

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    US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a press release on 21 December that asylum-seeking migrants who cross the US southwest border will be sent back to Mexico where they must wait for a ruling by immigration courts on their asylum applications.

    Sputnik has discussed US migrant policy with Dave Ray, director of communications (or spokesperson), Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

    Sputnik: Could the next few weeks (before the next Senate and House of Representative members are sworn in) be the last chance to pass funding for a wall?

    Dave Ray: The last few weeks of this Republican-controlled Congress represents the best political opportunity that the president will have to secure funding for the wall, but the president has two more years in office and there will be lots of chances for him to cut a deal during that time.  If the president fails to secure funding in this Congress, there will undoubtedly be opportunities in the next few years when he has veto power over something that the Democrats really want and they might be able to forge a deal.

    Sputnik: Could Trump really shut down the whole government in order to secure payment for a wall?

    Dave Ray: What we're looking at right now is a partial shutdown of the government at midnight on Friday, December 21.  Most of the government, including the Department of Defense, is already funded through next year. 

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    The main agencies that would be affected if the government shuts down on Friday will be the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development, and some smaller agencies.

    Sputnik: Just few days ago Brian Kolfage launched an internet campaign whose main goal is to raise money for a wall. Today his campaign reached $5 million. Do you think this campaign could have a positive impact?

    Dave Ray: Absolutely.  There is not only incredible public support for a wall, but border walls work at stanching illegal immigration.  The current border wall we have south of San Diego was incredibly effective in stopping the recent caravan of Central Americans in Mexico.  If that wall wasn't there, instead of the caravaners waiting in Mexico to file their asylum claims in the US, many of them would have likely entered the US illegally and tried to escape into the interior of the nation.

    Sputnik: It's been reported that the Trump administration has reached a deal that will force asylum migrants to wait in Mexico while their cases are processed. Could this newly adopted measure prevent another caravan?

    Dave Ray: Yes, political asylum has become the soft underbelly for illegal immigration into the US, and the "credible fear" threshold for gaining political asylum is currently so low that nearly everyone who asks for it is allowed to enter the US.  Unfortunately, most of them either never bother to file their asylum claims or fail to show up for their asylum hearings.  In essence, they are asking for asylum but their real intention is to be allowed to enter the US with work documents and then to disappear into the interior of the country.  Currently, only about nine percent of asylum claims from Central Americans are approved. 

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    If they are forced to make their case and wait in Mexico, it will greatly reduce the number of asylum claims and help ensure the integrity of the political asylum process for those who are truly fleeing persecution.

    Sputnik: Could a failure to deliver a wall seriously damage Trump's prospects in the 2020 election cycle?

    Dave Ray: Yes, the wall promise was the cornerstone of his presidential campaign, and failure to deliver on this promise could greatly jeopardize his re-election campaign in 2020.  The president is aware of this fact, which is why he is threatening to veto the spending bill passed by the Senate because it does not contain $5 billion in funding for the border wall.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dave Ray and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    Related:

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    Twelve Migrants Detained While Attempting to Cross Into US From Mexico - Reports
    Trump Says Wall Could Save US Money Amid Reports of Migrants Breaking Through
    More Conflicts With Migrants and Shutdown are Expected Over US Southern Border
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    asylum, policy, migrants, United States
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