Speed Reads

on immigration

Sessions wants to allow fewer immigrants to apply for asylum

Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to make it more difficult for immigrants to apply for asylum at the U.S. border.

Sessions announced Monday that he will reframe the interpretation of asylum so that immigration officials don't need to process as many asylum applications. "The asylum system is being abused," Sessions said while speaking to immigration judges in Washington. "The vast majority of the current asylum claims we're seeing are not valid."

The attorney general argued that immigrants often falsely claim that they have a credible fear of returning to their home countries, forcing U.S. officials to process their request per international asylum laws rather than simply sending them away or arresting immigrants who cross the border illegally. Sessions said that there were 5,000 allegedly credible fear asylum requests in 2009, and 94,000 in 2016.

Sessions said that "illegitimate" claims have "buried" legitimate ones, and condemned the "powerful incentives" that have drawn immigrants to the U.S. to plead asylum, arguing that only a small percentage of applicants are "meritorious."

Even though Sessions briefly expressed sympathy for the "difficult, even dangerous conditions" that immigrants flee, he said the U.S. could not "abandon legal discipline." He didn't offer many details on what the changes would entail, but promised that "the number of illegal aliens and the number of baseless claims will fall."

"Asylum was never meant to alleviate all problems," he said. Watch his full comments at The Washington Post.