Sunday, October 02, 2011

Many would agree that the Asylum process in the United States is flawed in some ways or another. With such an emphasis on keeping people “out,” events happen daily in the life of each asylum seeker – making it more difficult for them to plead their case. Take for example – the middle of the night change of location of one refugee from one prison to the next – ultimately making it even more difficult for their probonal lawyer to work and communicate with them. Dozens of other road blocks are in place to only allow asylum to individuals who are most deserving, whatever “most deserving” could mean.  With a huge emphasis on facts and proof of testimony, it’s a wonder how any false accusations could make it through.

In this article this past summer, the New York Times – pointed to some fraudulent cases. Fraudulent cases exist in all courts in the United States. The articles negative attitude towards the overall process - just because of the few that slip the cracks - was extremely ill-found. 
These few cases do not negate the fact that there is genital mutilation, slaughter, ethnic cleansing, and conflict around the globe. Individuals escape their hell only to find themselves handcuffed and placed in another one - miles away from their home in York County Prison. A few fraudulent cases should not tarnish the already dreadful process of receiving refugee status for thousands of individuals that flee here. 


chartran said...

I would argue that the asylum/WOR/CAT application system in the United States is not oriented with an "emphasis on keeping people 'out,'" so much as it requires - appropriately, in my view - that those seeking our protection have a responsibility to prove why their situation warrants the extraordinary and unparalleled benefits of inclusion in American society. There are very real and practical limitations on the numbers and types of people we can allow to migrate here - limits that cannot and should not be ignored - and as such I think that it's important that only those with legitimate fears be granted protection.

The system of definitions, processes, and standards that people have to adhere to - while complex - is fair, in my view, as it lays our clear expectations that those with legitimate fears ought to be able to meet. I'm not accusing the majority of asylum seekers of trying to game the system, and I would love nothing more than to welcome in everyone who wants to come here with open arms. But the reality is that we cant, and we have to make the (difficult) choice of who we can offer protection to and who we can't.

Anonymous said...

Good points, chartran. I would like to make an additional point. That is, the actual article, as well as the comments that HumanRightsAdcocate23 posted about the article are extremes. One extreme says that asylum law is anti-humane, as it is too focused on "keeping people 'out'"; and the other extreme says that it is too lenient because it allows people with fake stories to enter the US. Both of these extreme views advocate for reform.

I would argue that both of these extreme views miss the larger picture. That being, that law, no matter how well constructed in theory, can still be messed up by human error. In this case, both extremes of the spectrum should not call for asylum law reform; as the law is very well constructed. Therefore, maybe nothing should be done. However, if anything, people ought to insist that more strict sanctions be put on human-beings to make better decisions.

Anonymous said...

To clarify - my point is that the problem is not the law; but rather, human imperfection.

chartran said...

Very true. I think the appeals process that is so often used in immigration law cases is the best way to address the problem of human error. It allows for multiple examinations of a case by different "people" who may come to different conclusions about what the law dictates. These interpretations not only decide the case at hand, but they are used to influence future cases to add continuity and consistency to our legal system. Another way, perhaps, that I think this "system" works pretty well.