Terrorists Seeking Asylum?

An Article at Immigration Daily by Walter A. Ewing and Benjamin Johnson of The Immigration Policy Center raises an interesting side issue:
The public debate surrounding passage of the REAL ID Act by the House of Representatives on February 10 has raised the question of whether or not the U.S. asylum system is vulnerable to infiltration by foreign terrorists. Sponsors of the legislation, which now moves to the Senate for consideration, claim the Act would enhance security by making it more difficult for asylum seekers to prove their cases.
The article discuses how our asylum system has been "gamed", and reforms that have been put in place. It seems to me that realID is unlikely to have much effect on people seeking asylum, since generally such people legitimately have weak documentation and would qualify before even trying to get RealID cards.

But the article focuses on something different:
Enormous backlogs and the incentive of work authorization – resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of asylum applications filed, as more and more weak or fraudulent claims were submitted by individuals who wanted to stay in the United States or obtain work authorization while their cases were lost in the backlog. In 1993, political and public attention was focused on these flaws in the asylum program when it was widely reported that Mir Aimal Kansi, who killed two CIA agents in front of the agency’s headquarters, and Ramzi Yousef, who was involved in the first World Trade Center bombing, had been allowed to remain in the United States while their applications for asylum were pending.
Subsequent reforms have cut the backlog, avoiding the situation where people remained a long time with pending cases. If asylum seekers were required to get RealID cards, backlog would likely increase again as the asylum seekers sought to prove more conclusively who they are.


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