Take the tragic tale of Oscar Ramirez and his young daughter Valeria, the father and daughter captured in death in that heartbreaking photograph. Ramirez’s widow explained to the Washington Post why her husband wanted to move to America: He wanted “a better future for their girl.” This is an admirable goal, but it is classic economic immigration, and it would appear, based on what we know, that it has absolutely nothing to do with asylum. Here again is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services definition: “Refugee status or asylum may be granted to people who have been persecuted or fear they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion.”
But somehow the courts have decided that you qualify for asylum if there is simply widespread crime or violence where you live, and Ramirez was also going to use that argument as well. A government need not persecute you; you just have to experience an unsafe environment that your government is failing to suppress. This so expands the idea of asylum, in my view, as to render it meaningless.
Courts have also expanded asylum to include domestic violence, determining that women in abusive relationships are a “particular social group” and thereby qualify. In other words, every woman on the planet who has experienced domestic abuse can now come to America and claim asylum. Also everyone on the planet who doesn’t live in a stable, orderly, low-crime society. Literally billions of human beings now have the right to asylum in America. As climate change worsens, more will rush to claim it. All they have to do is show up.
Last month alone, 144,000 people were detained at the border making an asylum claim. This year, about a million Central Americans will have relocated to the U.S. on those grounds. To add to this, a big majority of the candidates in the Democratic debates also want to remove the grounds for detention at all, by repealing the 1929 law that made illegal entry a criminal offense and turning it into a civil one. And almost all of them said that if illegal immigrants do not commit a crime once they’re in the U.S., they