Does anyone who applies for asylum truly need it anymore?



Once upon a time people, who applied for asylum in America came from communist dictatorships in Eastern Europe or the Soviet Union and often had legitimate reasons for fleeing. If they expressed political opposition to the regime in power, they often faced torture, imprisonment, or even execution. That's why America allowed anyone coming into the country to apply for asylum, even if they entered illegally, delaying deportation until a hearing could be held.

Unfortunately, asylum means something very different today. Today everyone and anyone who is caught crossing the border illegally is claiming asylum, knowing they will be released by the Border Patrol pending a hearing, one that many will never show up for.

So many people fleeing persecution in their home countries have asked for help in San Ysidro in recent weeks that federal officials have not been able to process all of them.

“We can’t give up. We don’t have option,” said Mesfin Tesfaldet, a 33-year-old man from Eritrea seeking asylum in the U.S., who has been waiting to be processed for at least a week.

Tesfaldet said he fled Eritrea to Sudan after he was jailed for his political views. In Sudan, he said, he couldn’t go to a refugee camp because the two governments were working together to send Eritreans back to their home country.

Before Mr. T. came all the way to the US, why didn't he try to go to seek asylum in another neighboring country, like Egypt or Chad? Or what about Ethiopia? Ethiopia is an historic enemy of Eritrea. Mr. T. would almost certainly be safe there. If he were really looking for political asylum, it would be much easier to get to Ethiopia than America from Eritrea.

He hid for several years before finding a way to fly to Brazil. From there, he followed a grueling and potentially fatal migrant trail up to Tijuana.

What? Wait. Mr. T went next to Brazil? Why then didn't he seek asylum in Brazil? Or, while he's on the continent, any of the other countries in South America? Or why didn't he seek asylum in Mexico?

It seems Mr. T only feels that there is one country in the world that can grant him asylum. America. That raises the natural suspicion that Mr. T's hop-scotching around the globe had less to do with politics, and more to do with economics.

America sees the same kind of suspicious asylum claims from large influxes of people from Central America. It seems all refugees from there have memorized the same script: "Gangs have threatened [insert family member here], so we had to leave the country." Really? When asylum seekers say that, you have to wonder why they couldn't move to a different part of their country. You also have to wonder why they simply didn't move to a neighboring country. Costa Rica, for example, has quite a peaceful reputation.

But Hondurans and El Salvadorans, for some reason, don't care to claim asylum in the much easier to reach Costa Rica. They want to come to the US, because they want to be a burden on the US taxpayer.

Aside, possibly, from a subset of Cuban refugees and a handful of escapees from Russia, it's hard to think of any asylum seekers who come to America out of genuine fear of political persecution.
Asylum has just become another door for economic migrants to step through in search of American taxpayer funded education, health care, food stamps, and all the rest.

[originally in AT]



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