GOODLATTE: GAO REPORT ADDS TO MOUNTING EVIDENCE ON ADMIN'S FAILURE TO ADDRESS ASYLUM FRAUD
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the following statement today on a new Government Accountability Office report which finds that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review have failed to develop agency-wide policies and procedures to identify and prevent asylum fraud.
“This new GAO report adds to mounting evidence that the Obama Administration refuses to take the steps necessary to crack down on asylum fraud and protect the integrity of our immigration system. We already know that there is proven or possible fraud in up to 70% of asylum applications yet the Administration hasn’t implemented procedures to identify and prevent fraud in the system.
“The effective rubberstamping of asylum applications is one of the root causes of the ongoing border surge and it also carries with it serious national security concerns. Terrorism experts agree that the asylum process is a vulnerability that terrorists have and will continue to exploit to gain entry into the United States. The House Judiciary Committee has approved the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act to strengthen asylum standards and prevent the Obama Administration from approving baseless claims.
“We will examine the GAO’s findings at tomorrow’s oversight hearing on the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Director Osuna has much explaining to do about his agency’s failure to address asylum fraud.”
Highlights from the report:
- The GAO report found that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review have failed to develop agency-wide policies and procedures to identify and prevent asylum fraud.
- Immigration judges granted asylum to 3,709 aliens who were connected to attorneys and preparers convicted in federal court for submitting fraudulent asylum claims. The report also found that the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice rarely pursue criminal penalties or discipline attorneys for fraud.
- The total number of asylum applications, including affirmative and defensive applications, increased from 47,118 in fiscal year 2010 to 108,152 in fiscal year 2014, an increase of 130%. During this time, affirmative asylum applications filed directly with USCIS increased by a total of 131% and defensive asylum applications filed with EOIR increased 125%.
- USCIS has a backlog of more than 100,000 affirmative asylum applications, most of which have exceeded required time frames for adjudication.
Background on Asylum Reform Legislation: In March 2015, the House Judiciary Committee approved the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act (H.R. 1153), authored by Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). This bill strengthens asylum standards to prevent the Obama Administration’s rubberstamping of fraudulent claims, effectively ends “catch and release,” and prevents American taxpayer dollars from being used to pay for unlawful immigrants’ lawyers. More information on the legislation can be found here.