Psaki Inadvertently Exposes the ‘Asylum Seeker’ Lie

Dismissive response during press briefing reveals White House knows border crisis fueled by economic migrants

By Robert Law on September 22, 2021

There has been a sustained crisis at the southern border since Joe Biden was sworn in as president. Between February and July, border apprehensions increased each month, bucking historical trends and setting records in the process. The 208,887 apprehensions in August were only slightly lower than July’s astronomical 213,534 apprehensions, but represent just the fourth month to exceed 200,000 apprehensions since the Border Patrol started recording monthly data in 1999. As Andrew Arthur recently put it, “August migrant apprehension numbers show the border is in freefall.”

The direct correlation between the surge of illegal aliens coming to the southern border this year and the start of the Biden-Harris administration is not coincidental. During the 2020 Democratic primaries, Joe Biden vowed to not deport any illegal aliens during his first 100 days in office — as did every other candidate on the debate stage. Biden followed through with that promise on Day 1, and took numerous additional actions to dismantle the successful enforcement/deterrence policies the Trump administration had implemented. Unsurprisingly, illegal aliens came in droves knowing that they will not be sent home by the new administration.

The Biden administration’s refusal to defend the southern border looks even worse when compared to its handling of Covid-19. For most of the year, various travel bans have been put (or kept) in place, effectively curtailing international travel into the United States while the land borders with Mexico and Canada have been closed except for “essential” travel. None of these restrictions have applied to the illegal aliens showing up at the southern border, reflecting an administration policy best described as "Neanderthal thinking", with the implication being that illegal aliens are "essential".

Recently, the Biden administration announced a new policy, effective November 1, eliminating the international travel bans for aliens arriving by air who show proof of a Covd-19 vaccine and a negative Covid test within 72 hours prior to arriving in the United States. During Monday’s White House press briefing, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked Press Secretary Jen Psaki if the illegal aliens showing up at the border are subject to the same Covid requirements. Specifically, Doocy asked, “So if somebody walks into the country, right across the river, does somebody ask them to see their vaccination card?”

You already know the answer, but the precise words Psaki used in response inadvertently revealed more than she likely intended. After snidely saying, “Well, let me explain to you again, Peter, how our process works,” Psaki responded, “As individuals come across the border and — they are both assessed for whether they have any symptoms. If they have symptoms, they are — the intention is for them to be quarantined; that is our process. They’re not intending to stay here for a lengthy period of time. I don’t think it’s the same thing.” (Emphasis added.)

Translation: The aliens apprehended at the border are not fleeing persecution that makes them eligible for asylum. Under the law, an alien who receives asylum (known as an “asylee”) is given a work permit and eligible for an expedited path to U.S. citizenship. Thus, there is nothing temporary about the humanitarian grant of asylum.

On the other hand, merely applying for asylum entitles an alien to nothing and those found ineligible are removable from the country. This distinction has been blurred by the Biden administration and allies in the media who refer to the illegal aliens apprehended at the border as “asylum seekers”. In fact, inadmissible aliens like those apprehended at the border are removable, but are coached to claim “credible fear” to avoid being quickly returned to their home country. Passing a credible fear screening is not the same thing as qualifying for asylum, but advocates of unlimited immigration intentionally blur the distinction. Only 65 percent of the aliens who claim credible fear follow through with applying for asylum and the actual asylum approval rate is 30 percent or lower.

Most of the aliens apprehended at the border are economic migrants seeking better-paying jobs or those looking to escape personal circumstances that fail to meet the statutory definition of “refugee”. The Biden administration knows these aliens are ineligible for relief under our laws, but has deceptively marketed the border crisis as being about “asylum seekers” to generate sympathies from the American people to avoid responsibility for refusing to enforce the law. The only thing Psaki got wrong in her response is about the illegal alien’s intent: They fully intend to stay here indefinitely, just without a lawful immigration status.