CNN Host: Trump Is ‘Right’ About Asylum System Abuse

By Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
Masooma Haq
July 3, 2019 Updated: July 3, 2019

CNN host Fareed Zakaria said on his show Sunday, June 30, that although he takes no pleasure in saying so, he believes President Trump is right about the fact that the asylum system is broken and being abused.

This is a surprising admission, given that CNN has been extremely critical of Trump’s handling of the border crisis.

“Given President Trump’s mean-spirited and often bigoted attitudes on immigration, it pains me to say this, but he is right that the United States faces a crisis with its asylum system,” said Zakaria.

Undocumented immigrants just released from detention through "catch and release" immigration policy stand at a bus station before being taken to the Catholic Charities relief center in McAllen
Undocumented immigrants just released from detention through “catch and release” immigration policy stand at a bus station before being taken to the Catholic Charities relief center in McAllen, Texas, on April 11, 2018. (Loren Elliott/Reuters)

Most Democrats have also been critical of Trump’s handling of the border crisis.

During the first democratic presidential debate, the candidates were asked about immigration reform but focused their answers on generalizations, including reuniting families who had been separated at the border. Some even used the phrase, “comprehensive immigration reform” but did not give specifics of how to stop the flow of migrants.

Senator Cory Booker [D-N.J.] got into some specifics of the debate when he said he would make sure his administration ends ICE policies, reinstates DACA, and addresses the root cause of why migrants are fleeing violence by investing in their countries.

Zakaria noted that the murder rates in Central American countries, that are home to a majority of asylum seekers, have been cut in half in recent years.

Regarding the asylum system, President Trump stated in May, ”We must also restore the integrity of our broken asylum system. Our nation has a proud history of affording protection to those fleeing government persecutions. Unfortunately, legitimate asylum seekers are being displaced by those lodging frivolous claims—these are frivolous claims—to gain admission into our country.”

“The rules surrounding asylum are vague, lax, and being gamed,” confirmed Zakaria.

Zakaria stated that immigration courts received 162,000 asylum claims in 2018, a 240 percent increase from 2014. According to him, a backlog of more than 300,000 asylum claims are pending.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz had tough words for Congress while speaking recently at a press conference on the southern border.

‘This is a crisis—and unfortunately, this is a man-made crisis. The responsibility for this crisis lies directly on the United States Congress. On loopholes that Congress has put into law that are encouraging far too many people to make this arduous journey.”

The senator noted that now about 50 percent of the adult male immigrants are traveling with children who are being used as a “get out of jail free card” for adults who know they will be released if they are traveling with children.

“These looser criteria coupled with the reality that this is a safe way to enter the U.S. have made the asylum system easy to abuse,” Zakaria repeating what Trump and other Republicans have been saying for some time now.

Zakaria clarified for the audience that asylum was originally designed to help people fleeing regimes where they face persecution by their governments. But the standard broadened over the years to include fears of street violence and domestic abuse threats.

“The criteria for asylum need to be rewritten and substantially tightened. The number of courts and officials dealing with asylum must be massively expanded. People should not be able to use asylum claims as a way to work in America,” concluded Zakaria.

Masooma Haq