Speaker Boehner, sensing another revolt of the conservative base over the new House border plan, so is doing a last-ditch effort to win people over. I'm a pretty good reader, but his argument is hard to follow. As best I can tell, Boehner's office seems to be saying:
- Unaccompanied Alien Children accounted for less than two percent of asylum applications in FY 2013.
- In the first three quarters of FY 2014, there were 1,532 applications for asylum by Unaccompanied Alien Children, up from 718 in FY 2013.
- Thus, the fact that 65 percent of all Unaccompanied Alien Children who apply for asylum have that application immediately approved is no big deal, because not very many children will take advantage of this opportunity.
- Furthermore, since the bill would make it easier to send Unaccompanied Alien Children back to their home countries, it will reduce the number of those who may claim asylum.
Now assuming that I'm reading it correctly, I have a few problems with this argument:
First, it appears that applications for asylum by Unaccompanied Alien Children more than doubled from FY 2013 (October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013) to the first three quarters of FY 2014 (October 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014). To me, that fact indicates that more people have started to game the system by applying for asylum.
Second, given that 65 percent of all Unaccompanied Alien Children who apply for asylum have that application immediately approved will encourage more people to claim asylum going forward.
Third, up to this point there hasn't been much need for Unaccompanied Alien Children to apply for asylum, as they were not at much risk of being deported in any event. They could simply disappear into the country and never be heard from again. But if the House bill makes it easier for Unaccompanied Alien Children to be deported, I would expect many more of them to apply for asylum. And I would expect at least 65 percent of those applications to be granted immediately. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Administration grant asylum to almost everyone who asked. (Notice how many references Democrats are making lately to the Central American "refugees.)
Fourth, any bill that John "McAmnesty" McCain is introducing in the Senate is, at its core and by necessity, a bad bill.
So it seems pretty obvious that the number of people being granted asylum will go up – and could go up dramatically -- if the bill is passed.