Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, offered four recommendations to President Donald Trump and his administration on how to solve the border crisis caused by the stream of migrant caravans seeking entry into the U.S. via Mexico.
1 – Close the Border
Vaughan said the executive branch “needs to do something in the short-term,” including consideration of shutting down crossings through the U.S.-Mexico border.
Vaughan stated, “If it gets to the point where [caravan migrants] get to the U.S. border in a group like that, which they may not, they could be broken up. Some of them are going to get to the U.S. border, for sure, because there’s just no way Mexico is going to find all those people who busted through that fence … and they may not come as a caravan, they’ll just try to cross illegally.”
Vaughan recalled how the U.S. essentially shut down the southern border in 1985 after Mexican drug cartel criminals murdered Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent.
Vaughan remarked, “But if they come as a group we could shut down a border crossing or shut down a part of the border. It’s been done before in order to shut down drug trafficking and make a statement. When a DEA agent was killed in Mexico, we shut down the order to make a statement. … It could be done. … That might be what it comes to, and I don’t think Mexico wants to see that.”
2 – Refuse Bogus Asylum Claims
Mansour noted the economic reasons for caravaning migrants seeking entry to the U.S.: “The media is not even trying to pretend that these people are fleeing for anything other than economic reasons.”
News media outlets such as the New York Times and Washington Post have described caravaning migrants’ motivations for seeking entry to the U.S. as economic.
Vaughan described the openly stated economic motivations of the caravaning migrants as “[making] it harder to justify allowing these people to set foot in the United States.”
Vaughan recalled how left-wing lawyers had previously coached foreigners — providing them specific scripts to recite before border security and immigration officials — on how best to enter America via existing refugee and asylum laws and policies.
Left-wing lawyers have also previously provided pro bono legal services to asylum claimants who had entered U.S. territory.
Vaughan said, “Back on the open borders crowd, I don’t think this open admission that this is economic migration is going to stop the left from trying to rationalize their wish for us to let them all in, and they want a scene at the border where the U.S. government looks like they’re being brutal and mean to desperate migrants. They think that works for them.”
Vaughan continued, “I disagree that that’s how it plays out with American voters, but they still think this is something we should just give in to, and I think they’re still going to try to justify it in their minds and make the case, just like they did with the whole family separation issue.”
Vaughan concluded, “The president is going to have to do what is necessary, and not worry about what the New York Times thinks.”
3 – Refuse Entry to Migrants and Send Them Home
Vaughan said, “I think that the caravan itself is going to be broken up, but many of the people in it are going to make their way up to the order and try to get across, and many of them are going to succeed. “
Vaughan continued, “If they come in a big group like that, they could well shut down the border, but I have a feeling that we’re going to see it break up and people end up getting through individually, anyway, unless the president takes more bold steps to say, ‘Look, I’m stopping this. These people aren’t getting through. We’re not accepting their asylum claims, because they’re bogus.’”
Vaughan added, “[Trump must] actually send them back. That’s what it’s going to take to avoid having more of these caravans. These are not credible fear claims that are credible. They don’t meet the standard of the law, and therefore they’re going home and we’re not even going to allow them in as others have. It’s over. That’s what it’s going to take.”
Vaughan advised Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen against reliance on Congressional passage of legislation to assist DHS’s mandate to secure the homeland.
“The executive branch needs to do something in the short-term,” declared Vaughan.
“Can troops be sent down there to protect the border?” asked Mansour.
Vaughan replied, “Most people believe that they can only be used to support immigration officers like the border patrol [and] that they can’t be used to actually make immigration arrests, but there is a provision in the law that allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to deputize state and local law enforcement to assist with border security, so that’s a possibility, if it gets out hand.”
Vaughan added, “I could see Texas wanting to provide support to the border patrol. They do that already at the expense of Texas. I think there will be reinforcements who arrive if it looks like another scene like we just saw play out in Mexico.”
4 – Mandate Asylum Claims be Made in Consulates or Embassies in Home Countries, Not U.S. Ports of Entry
Both Vaughan and Mansour said migrants seeking asylum should file their claims at consulates or embassies within their own countries, not at U.S. ports of entry.
“The administration basically has to say — I don’t know if they can do this — but make a ruling saying, ‘If you want to request asylum, you need to request it at the embassy in your country,’” said Mansour, asking, “Why don’t they just request it at the consulate or embassy and not even come here?”
Vaughan agreed, adding, “Exactly, and it would still be fair. We could still accept any bona fide cases, but we don’t have them crashing the border, and we don’t have this this farce kangaroo court immigration process.”
Vaughan also recommended denying the caravaning migrants entry to the U.S. and having them wait in Mexico while federal authorities process their anticipated asylum claims.
Illegal aliens often fail to appear before immigration judges once admitted to the U.S. and issued a court date.
Vaughan highlighted Mexico’s negligence in allowing migrants — many of whom are seeking passage to the U.S. — to illegally enter its territory through its southern border.
Vaughan said of Mexican authorities: “When they want to enforce their immigration laws, they do it pretty strictly with behavior that would never be tolerated against Mexicans in the United States.”
Mexican authorities could intercept migrants seeking entry to the U.S. on a transnational train nicknamed, “The Beast.”
“These people are going to be headed for The Beast, that train that heads up through Mexico to the U.S. border,” said Vaughan, “They can stop it there. They can stop a lot of people there.”
“Border crashers” cannot be considered “peaceful asylum seekers,” added Vaughan.
Asylum claims from migrants seeking entry to the U.S. via Mexico should not be considered unless their asylum requests are submitted at consulates or embassies in their home countries or in Mexico, said Vaughan.
In April, Vaughan said, “we have to be firm. We can also tell people that they can apply for asylum in our consulate in Tijuana. We have a branch of the U.S. embassy there and they could wait there while their claim is adjudicated. We can take a couple of weeks to hear their case from our consulate in Tijuana, or Mexico City or anywhere else in the country of Mexico; save them a long journey.”