House Republicans held a hearing on Thursday to question immigration officials about a spike in asylum seekers that are being allowed to stay in the country after crossing the border illegally.
The number of immigrants being allowed to stay in 2013 is nearly triple the number in 2012 and six times the number allowed to stay each year during the Bush administration, according to the Wall Street Journal.
U.S. immigration officials in fiscal 2013 recorded a total of 36,026 “credible-fear” declarations, where migrants state their fear of being harmed on return to their homelands, and are allowed to remain in the U.S. while pursuing asylum. That total was nearly triple the number recorded during fiscal 2012 and about six times annual totals during the Bush administration.
“The world is not twice as dangerous as it was in 2012, so what explains the spike?” said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.).
The House Judiciary Committee hearings were the latest by Republicans challenging the Obama administration’s performance on border security, which many in Congress have said is crucial to their support for a comprehensive immigration law overhaul.