Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability MORE called for a crackdown on immigrants seeking asylum in the United States during a speech on Thursday, saying that the program is rife with "fraud and abuse."
Sessions during a speech accused U.S. immigration attorneys of "exploiting" loopholes in asylum law and trying to "undermine" the intent of Congress.
"Over the years, smart attorneys have exploited loopholes in the law, court rulings, and lack of resources to substantially undermine the intent of Congress," Sessions said.
Sessions blamed the Obama administration's decision to allow immigrants who passed an "initial credible fear review" to be released into the U.S. pending a full hearing for causing asylum claims to skyrocket.
"These changes — and case law that has expanded the concept of asylum well beyond congressional intent —created even more incentives for illegal aliens to come here and claim a fear of return," Sessions said.
"The consequences are just what you’d expect. Claims of fear to return have skyrocketed, and the percentage of claims that are genuinely meritorious are down," he continued.
Though he didn't lay out any specific policy proposals or changes, Sessions said that Congress must act to reform asylum policy before the system is completely overwhelmed.
"We can turn around this crisis under President Trump’s leadership," he said.
"[W]e cannot ... continue to let our generosity be abused, we cannot capitulate to lawlessness and allow the very foundation of law upon which our country depends to be further undermined."