Too many asylum cases don’t address real problemPublished 10:28am Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Seeking political asylum in the United States is a valid and undeniable reason to admit someone to the country, one would think. Yet I recognize at least two serious flaws in this presumption; no country in the world could ever absorb all those who would like political asylum and the bulk of cases presented to American immigration officials are fraudulent. The greater number of requests for political asylum need to be rejected for both reasons.
Perhaps the majority in most third world countries would be better off in America and an incalculable number need asylum just to save their lives. Millions are being killed and millions more are starving. If all were admitted here, we would all starve or kill each other. However cruel it seems to leave politically persecuted or economically deprived people where they are, bringing them here would be cruel all the way around.
In Honduras, where I lived for the better part of a year, I met many citizens who actually needed political asylum. They truly were being oppressed and persecuted simply for their opposition to the current government. I talked, in jail, with several whom the federal police were holding indefinitely and without charge.
One problem with granting asylum to these is that not long before they were themselves the oppressors and persecutors as members of the previous government. Now they were receiving the same treatment.
My impression is the Honduran population was comprised of a small number of persecutors, about the same number of persecuted, and the bulk were abused by whoever was in power. Everyone needed asylum at one time or another. Those who actually deserved it were the group caught in the middle, and they never receive it.
NYU journalism professor Suketu Mahta, himself an immigrant from India, has written several books and monographs on immigration problems. Currently, he is researching the problems American immigration authorities experience is sorting out valid reasons to seek political asylum from the vast majority that are inadequate or even totally fraudulent.
He writes, in The New Yorker, of one example, a woman he calls Caroline. Although one person, she actually operates as three women. As Cecile Diop, a woman who has been in this country for ten years and earned citizenship; as Caroline, an African rape and torture victim; and as herself, a middle-aged woman who wants to attend college and make a living in America.
He met her in a Manhattan upscale grocery store where she had found low-paying employment by borrowing Cecile’s papers and Social Security number. She was about to receive her first paycheck, but would need to turn it over to Cecile, who alone could cash it. This other woman would then return to Caroline whatever of the money she wished, there being no way Caroline could demand from Cecile. Sometimes such people keep it all.
Caroline had come to the United States the previous summer to attend a family wedding. After her parents returned to Africa, she simply remained beyond her tourist visa and disappeared from the immigration authority’s screen.
She is now working on her “story.” It isn’t sufficient to fabricate a compelling story; it must be credible to officials who laboriously track the current schemes being attempted. She hired an immigration lawyer and said she had been beaten and raped in her home country — neither of which is fact. A clerk in the law office suggested this story has been used too often recently and was being routinely rejected. The clerk suggested trying the circumcision gimmick. She knew better, however, because she had talked with others so applying and learned the officials know female circumcision simply is not practiced in her country and she would need yet another story.
All this means not only that many people who do not qualify for political asylum are getting it, but that most who do qualify are not. Their stories, being factual, aren’t sufficiently compelling to the jaded officials.
We simply cannot absorb every alien who could benefit from political asylum, and we must not accept any of the thousands who are seeking it fraudulently. This is just reality, but too many bleeding-hearts lack heads.