Thursday, February 08, 2007

Is the U.S. mishandling asylum seekers?

A bipartisan federal commission stated yesterday that in its zeal to protect the U.S. borders, it is possible that many asylum seekers are being left vulnerable to deportation as well as mistreated, "rip-searched, shackled and held in jails." One of the recommendations that the Department of Homeland Security has made following these findings is that officials should be better trained to deal with asylum seekers. However, the most important question to me is: isn't this training basic? Why is it that these findings of more than two years ago were required for such a recommendation to come to the surface? I would assume that officers were already well-trained so that such events do not happen.

Another disturbing aspect to this artice is that often this mishandling leaves asylum seekers vulnerable to deportation. However, the fact remains that often those who are deported are sent back to miserable lives. The idea that mishandling such persons increases their risks of getting sent back is a very heavy thought.

1 comment:

zain said...

The article clearly shows that even after more than three years of its creation, DHS has been unsuccessful in handling the refugee and asylum cases effectively. The department was created to streamline the immigration related issues, but it seems that the deaprtment only added another bureaucratic layer to the US Administrative framework. It is disappointing to read that despite previous recommendations, appropriate steps were not taken to employ qualified personnel at the ports of entry to guide people seeking asylum in the right direction. The article makes me wonder how many people might have been deported by inexperienced and ill-informed officers to countries where they might have faced persecution, torture or even death. Many individuals who risk every thing to reach the States do not understand the immigration law; they do not even know what 'asylum' is. They just come here because they want to live in a 'free society.' I wonder, how many deserving people are not even granted the possibility of 'credible fear.' I understand that expedited removal is a strategy designed to deal with the ever-increasing number of applications. However, If I am not wrong, arent the officers supposed to give asylum seekers the benefit of doubt?