The number of migrants who sought asylum out of fear at the southwest border increased 67 percent this fiscal year to 92,959 from 55,584 in 2017, according to new statistics released by the Department of Homeland Security, CNN reported Tuesday.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement: “These numbers reflect a dramatic increase in initial fear claims by those encountered on the border, which is straining border security, immigration enforcement and courts, and other federal resources.”
The numbers could have been even higher but there is not enough space to process and hold people, particularly at the ports, authorities told The Washington Times.
Federal officials also said migrants are being coached by smuggling cartels on how to proceed, and they make the claims knowing that even if their case is weak, they will be admitted and given a chance to argue it, usually being released into the community to await hearings.
Although less than 20 percent will actually qualify – if trends in the past continue, many of the others will fail to show up for their cases or deportations, disappearing throughout the United States with the 11 million other illegal immigrants, according to The Washington Times.
CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said Congress must provide a better solution.
“As the majority of these claims will not be successful when they are adjudicated by an immigration court, we need Congress to act to address these vulnerabilities in our immigration system which continue to negatively impact border security efforts,” he said.
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