Faked Fear of Persecution is Asylum Fraud
Immigrants who obtained green cards after entering the United States through political asylum now run the risk of losing that privilege if they return to the countries where they claimed they were persecuted, according to a warning posted on a federal government Web site.
The measure is long overdue!
For too long, too many immigrants have made a mockery of the political asylum system.
While many who truly deserve asylum are not getting it, others are exploiting U.S. compassion for the "huddled masses yearning to breathe free."
Immediately after receiving a green card, they turn around and return to their homelands as tourists — although they claimed to have a "well-founded fear of persecution" upon returning.
If they go back home so quickly, then obviously their green cards were obtained through fraudulent claims, and their permits to remain here should be revoked.
Since they no longer fear traveling to their country of origin; when they go home, they should not be allowed to return.
And that's exactly what may now happen to fraudulent asylum seekers.
The warning came in the form of a "fact sheet" posted in late December on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Web site.
While those who truly fear persecution in their homelands would not dare return anyway, the warning will undoubtedly deter others from abusing the system.
Although the warning is based on longstanding laws and regulations, the policy of enforcing them is new. Legal U.S. residents who obtained their green cards through political asylum had never been given such a warning.
The new policy has immigration attorneys and some immigrants very concerned. Some are even outraged by the warning.
Why? Because for attorneys, the business of representing asylum seekers may dwindle. For fraudulent political refugees, there will be a price to pay for cutting in front of the immigration line.
Critics say the policy is unfair to green-card holders who may need to visit a dying relative, attend a funeral or tend to some other emergency. That's a valid concern.
They also claim that those returning to countries where political conditions have changed, and where their chances of being persecuted have evaporated, should not be penalized. That's also a valid point.
Yet U.S. government officials told The Miami Herald that those who return home because of emergencies or changed political conditions would not be affected by the new crackdown. Officials say they are after those who are obviously abusing the system by frequently traveling to countries where the political conditions have not changed, making it clear that their claimed fear of persecution was a fraud.
These asylum seekers, who come from many countries where some people are actually persecuted, were really economic refugees pretending to have political motives for coming here.
And there are plenty of them. The "tourists" who go back to vacation in countries where they were allegedly persecuted are a much larger group than those who have genuine emergency reasons to return.
Some go back to their hometowns to boast about the wealth they have acquired in the United States. Some even make a business out of it — flying back and forth as "mules" carrying either cash or goods to resell in their own countries.
Of course, there are thousands of political refugees who do deserve to be here. Those are the ones who have proven that their fear of persecution was legitimate by staying away from the countries and the people they love — even after becoming American citizens.
But those who came under false pretenses, those who lied about a fear that never existed, deserve the new policy.
For making a mockery of an asylum system that is meant to save lives, and to make room for those who really deserve political asylum, they need to be stopped.
To find out more about Miguel Perez, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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