The migrant crisis has exposed federal asylum laws as outdated and ineffective. In order to regain control over the southwest border and end the crisis, lawmakers must usher in a 21st-century asylum system.

Key points:

  • The current U.S. asylum system was designed for the Cold War and the exigencies of that era. Today we face new challenges, and we need an asylum system that above all serves the national interest first.
  • Enhanced border security measures and strict immigration enforcement will not, on their own, significantly reduce the number of migrants crossing the border. Without reforming the asylum system, the incentive to cross the border illegally will remain strong.
  • The credible fear interview process, the first step in determining whether a migrant has a valid claim to asylum, needs to be stricter and more streamlined.
  • The 1997 Flores settlement, which prohibits families from being detained for more than 20 days, must be superseded by federal legislation that gives immigration officials more time to assess asylum claims.
  • The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 should be amended to eliminate incentives for families to send their children across the border unaccompanied.