During a panel discussing illegal immigration, the border, and asylum crises across the western world, NumbersUSA Director of Research Erik Ruark slammed the Biden administration for the situation at the southern border. 

“The border crisis is not the result of incompetence,” Ruark said on Wednesday. “It’s due to the willful and deliberate decision-making by those who are ultimately making the decisions in the White House.” 

Ruark also commented on the current impeachment inquiry of U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, saying that it ultimately will not fix the problem of out-of-control illegal crossings. 

“Congress needs to reassert its plenary power over immigration,” he continued. “It’s the absolute authority that it has over immigration—determining who comes into the country, who may enter, and who may remain in the United States.” 

He then focused on the Biden administration specifically, which he stated needs more oversight. 

“Congress needs to strengthen certain statutes to prevent abuse by the executive branch, and these abuses aren’t limited to this president, it’s just that we’ve never seen such outright contempt for our immigration laws before,” Ruark continued. 

The panel was hosted by the Center for Immigration Studies. Ruark was joined by its Executive Director Mark Krikorian, Hungary’s Director of the Migration Research Institute Viktor Marsai, and Nicolas Pouvreau-Monti, co-founder of the Immigration and Demography Observatory in France. 

Marsai and Pouvreau-Monti’s organizations are part of the International Network for Immigration Research, alongside think tanks from the U.S., Israel, and the United Kingdom. 

According to Krikorian, INIR is “based on the premise that while every country is going to have a different immigration policy based on their own interests and preferences and what have you, every nation has the right to enforce its chosen policy.” 

As Europe has experienced similar immigration crises over the past several years as a result of asylum seekers from the Middle East, Marsai said the “conceptual problem is that instead of very clear legal and practical consideration we are using normative and moralizing discourse about this whole case.” 

“There are bad actors and good actors; people who are very cruel, and states which are very brutal and cruel, who try to stop these poor asylum seekers, like Hungary and sometimes the United States, while there are humane actors who try to open the borders for these very vulnerable people,” said Marsai, laying out the framework of the discussion regarding immigration between political sides. 

While we are following this discourse and narrative and language, it’s very hard to speak in an academic framework about this phenomenon—not to mention that the right of asylum seekers eclipses all others—national sovereignty, the rights of the citizens of host countries, security considerations, etc.

“The right of asylum has ended up constituting a major immigration channel in France and in the rest of Europe, which is now completely out of political control,” added Pouvreau-Monti.

“The criteria for asylum has become impossible,” explained Krikorian, highlighting how the Western world has allowed asylum to apply to broader and broader definitions of persecution in their own countries. “So entering the border means you stay in that country if you want to, and that’s the situation not just [in] Europe, but the United States and Australia and Israel and even Mexico now are dealing with.”

“The reason for this is because asylum has become a kind of right, and incorporating that into domestic law means that attempts to deport illegal immigrants who then claim asylum will be bogged down in courts for years as lawyers and activists and judges endlessly debate how many particular social groups dance on the head of a pin,” said Krikorian. 

Krikorian explained that the U.S.’s current asylum policy needs to be “jettisoned” so that practical solutions like the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy can be enacted. 

At a very basic level, the Remain in Mexico policy allowed asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while applying for asylum in the U.S. 

While acknowledging the monetary and diplomatic costs of the U.S. enacting such a policy on a broader level across continents, Krikorian said, “Frankly, once that’s going [a remain in place policy] the number of people trying it is going to be small because why bother to spend all of that money, take all of the risk involved to fly from Tajikistan to Istanbul to Dakar to Quito in Ecuador and then walk or take a bus all 2,000 miles up to the U.S. border when you’re just going to end up in Mongolia anyway.” 

Since the Biden administration discontinued the Remain in Mexico policy, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been busing illegal aliens to “sanctuary” cities across the U.S. in a political show to say the federal policy cannot be a Remain in Texas policy for all those allowed to enter and remain in the U.S. 

Recently, a lawsuit by New York City Mayor Eric Adams was filed against 17 bus companies transporting illegal aliens to NYC at the behest of Abbott. Abbott said that Adams should actually be suing the Biden administration for a failure to maintain border security. 

Ruark highlighted that Adams, along with the Biden administration, often point to the fact that illegal aliens have the legal right under U.S. law to claim asylum. 

“But that doesn’t mean that most have legitimate claims to asylum,” he continued. “We’ve seen over the years that the opposite is true, and that continues to be true now.” 

Will Biagini

Will was born in Louisiana and raised in a military family. He currently serves as a journalist with Texas Scorecard. Previously, he was a senior correspondent for Campus Reform.