To the editor: Your recent article about U.S. asylum procedures quoted a former asylum officer who refused to implement federal immigration law and policy. The article wrongly implied this sole officer’s view is widely held and had affected attrition and morale.
The fact is that attrition among U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services personnel is in line with prior years. There is no exodus, and morale remains high.
Missing from the article is the fact that only a small portion, about 15%, of those seeking asylum are granted that status by U.S. immigration judges.
This year, the surge at the southern border, given Congress’ inaction, overwhelmed detention facilities and resulted in tens of thousands being released, regardless of the legitimacy of their asylum claims. This situation necessitated the Department of Homeland Security to exercise its full legal authority to return migrants to Mexico while they await their day in immigration court, as is expressly authorized in the law.
Asylum seekers’ rights remain intact, as does the government’s right and responsibility to lawfully secure the border.
Ken Cuccinelli, Washington
The writer is the senior official performing the duties of the deputy secretary of Homeland Security.