Suppose you are the third mate of a sinking ship, and are (in effect) in command of the only lifeboat that survived; it seats 10 comfortably, and can take in maybe 15 more, but beyond that the little boat will sink. There are 40 of your colleagues in the water aside from the captain, who will go down with his ship.
It makes no sense to overload the boat and have everyone die, but that means you have to push away the extra 15 to their certain death. What a terrible decision you have to make.
While the metaphor may be overly dramatic, the Biden administration is inflicting a comparable decision on itself and, more importantly, on the rest of us.
It deals with asylum for victims of domestic and gang violence, and it seems to assume that there are seats for, say, 4,000 people in the lifeboat, which is totally unrealistic.
Among the many clauses in the multitudinous new executive orders is this, from EO 14010, Section 4, (G) (c):
[The] Attorney General and Homeland Security Secretary shall ... within 180 days of the date of this order, conduct a comprehensive examination of current rules, regulations, precedential decisions, and internal guidelines governing the adjudication of asylum claims and determinations of refugee status to evaluate whether the United States provides protection for those fleeing domestic or gang violence in a manner consistent with international standards.
The study, according to a close reading of the text, need not concern itself with the impact of such a decision on the people of the United States, or the nation's carrying capacity; the only variable of interest is a comparison with "international standards", a fuzzy concept at best.
On the one hand, I always cringe when a judge says that some poor guy from Central America must be deported because it does not matter that his mother and brother have both been killed by the gangs, or that some Third World woman has to return to the country where her husband beat her regularly, and the police would not touch the case. I do not envy the judges who have to make such decisions, and sometimes wonder why anyone would take the job of an immigration judge.
On the other hand, I can count.
And I can read. This, for example, from the World Health Organization:
Global estimates ... indicate that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
And in another study, we find:
More specifically, in the AYUDA survey, relied upon by Congress in passing VAWA [the Violence Against Women Act], ... among immigrant Latinas who reported being currently married or having been previously married, the physical and sexual abuse rate rose to 59.5%.
So somewhere between one-third and three-fifths of the married women in the world could make a plausible case that they are victims of domestic violence. There are some 3.9 billion women in the world, and let's say half are, or have been, married, for a sub-total of about two billion. When we apply the 35 percent figure to that number, we get 700 million as being abused in marriage.
We, somewhat uncomfortably, absorb 1.0 to 1.1 million legal immigrants a year; of which about half are women, or about 525,000. How can we seriously consider a new set of rules, which could, theoretically, cause the admissions of 1,333 times as many women as we admit currently on an annual basis?
If we cannot admit them all, how do we choose among them? The only realistic answer would be to give visas to those rich enough to buy an airline ticket, or desperate enough to enter illegally. But even if we used those two screening devices we could still have millions of domestic violence applications a year, particularly once it is learned that this is an easy way to enter the U.S.
There is a somewhat similar situation with the variable of gang abuse, which is so common in the nations south of us. The populations of entire nations, or maybe only 90 percent of those populations, can say that they fear gang or cartel abuse. Again, we cannot possibly take them all.
Asylum and refugee visas should be used, carefully, to help small numbers of particularly courageous people who are fighting despotism abroad, such as some leaders among the Hong Kong protestors and our interpreters in Iraq and Afghanistan. Visas cannot be used to solve problems impacting hundreds of millions of people.
It should be remembered that immigration slots are not the only tools that can be used against domestic and gang violence. We could, and should, particularly in Central America, substantially increase our economic assistance in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, funding local police forces of well-paid "untouchables" to fight the gangs, and a slew of women lawyers to fight for the rights of married women.
We can help create a better world in these ways, but we can't simply issue hundreds of millions of visas to all with a story of plausible victimhood.