Cotton to Garland: Should Americans Seek Asylum in Central America?

Cotton to Garland: Should Americans Seek Asylum in Central America?

March 2, 2023

Breitbart News reports that Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) grilled Attorney General Merrick Garland on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) change to asylum rules that allow foreign nationals, claiming to be fleeing gang violence, to seek refuge in the United States even as Americans in some major cities live with higher crime rates.

In July 2021, Biden’s DOJ altered asylum rules so that foreign nationals arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border are eligible for release into the nation’s interior if they claim to be fleeing gang violence in their native country. The change helped blow open the door for Biden’s expansive Catch and Release network. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions had made clear that fleeing gang violence and domestic abuse are not eligible claims for asylum in the U.S.

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Cotton said that although Biden’s DOJ has encouraged Central Americans to claim asylum in the U.S. solely on the basis of fleeing gang violence, many major American cities have higher crime rates.

In Honduras, Cotton said, the murder rate is 36 per 100,000 people, while in Mexico, the murder rate is 28 per 100,000 people. Meanwhile, Cotton noted that the murder rate in New Orleans, Louisiana, is even higher at 70 per 100,000 people, and in St. Louis, Missouri, the murder rate is 68 per 100,000 people.

“Should American citizens in places like New Orleans and Baltimore and St. Louis begin to seek asylum in countries like Honduras and Guatemala, under your asylum principles?” Cotton asked Garland.

“I’m saying that the principle here is protection of specific individuals who are being threatened by the gang and where the local country is unwilling or unable to protect them,” Garland responded, to which Cotton said:

So, so is the United States government and the city governments of St. Louis and Baltimore and New Orleans unwilling or unable to protect its own citizens?

Garland said he does not believe that the federal government and city governments are unwilling to protect their citizens, but rather “they’re doing everything that they can.” Then Cotton said:

Mr. Attorney General, one of the reasons we have a crisis at our border — where we have illegal aliens running to our Border Patrol, not away from our Border Patrol — is this interpretation of asylum, that anyone anywhere who lives in a dangerous or poor country can come here and seek asylum as opposed to seeking it, as is traditionally the case for things like persecution on religious belief or political practice.

Since Biden took office, encounters of illegal aliens have exceeded 5.5 million along the U.S.-Mexico border. Close to two million border crossers and illegal aliens have been directly released into the nation’s interior thanks to Biden’s parole pipeline.

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