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Jason Dzubow on Political Asylum

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) Gets It Right

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Recently, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) released a report called Refugee and Asylum Policy Reform.  Last week, I wrote about some problems with the report's methodology.  Since it's a new year, I wanted to do something more positive, so for today's post, I will discuss some recommendations in the report that I agree with. 


The Cuban Adjustment Act


The report recommends that the Cuban Adjustment Act be scrapped as a Cold War anachronism:


The exemption of Cubans in the United States from being required to justify a well-founded fear of persecution if sent back to Cuba is a political rather than humanitarian provision that encourages illegal immigration from Cuba.  The Cuban Adjustment Act should be repealed and the "wet-foot-dry-foot" policy that paroles Cubans into the country should be rescinded by the president.


 


While I oppose the Cuban Adjustment Act, Cuba's loss has been our gain: Rapper Cuban Link

This policy has never made much sense to me, especially since the end of the Cold War.  I've represented Cubans who gained their residency in the U.S. through the Cuban Adjustment Act, and they have all been very nice people.  But they were not political dissidents or people who faced persecution in Cuba.  Maybe the original idea behind the Act was to score a propaganda victory against Cuba, but after 50 years of the "Revolution," I don't know that it's done much good (on the other hand, all those Cubans coming to the U.S. have greatly enhanced our country).  Rather than allow any Cuban who reaches the U.S. to remain here, we would do better to require each person to prove that he has a well-founded fear of persecution in Cuba, just like asylum seekers from other countries.    


Coercive Family Planning


Congress has defined the term "refugee" to include victims of China's coercive family planning policies.  The FAIR report recommends that the "expansion of the definition of a refugee to include coercive family planning policies should be reversed."  "It deviates from international practice and encourages illegal immigration from China."  


I have always felt that it is unfair to condemn China for its one-child policy.  That country faces a very real and very dangerous population crisis, and the government instituted a policy (however unpalatable) to avoid disaster.  The law that FAIR opposes is more narrowly written than the report indicates, but it is still over-broad.   INA § 101(a)(42)(B) defines "refugee" as follows:


For purposes of determinations under this chapter, a person who has been forced to abort a pregnancy or to undergo involuntary sterilization, or who has been persecuted for failure or refusal to undergo such a procedure or for other resistance to a coercive population control program, shall be deemed to have been persecuted on account of political opinion, and a person who has a well founded fear that he or she will be forced to undergo such a procedure or subject to persecution for such failure, refusal, or resistance shall be deemed to have a well founded fear of persecution on account of political opinion.


The law appropriately defines "refugees" to include past victims and possible future victims of forced abortion and forced sterilization.  However, those who "resist" the family planning policy are also covered.  I would limit the definition of "refugee" to include only those who suffer from the coercive policies, not those who merely oppose such policies (though in my understanding, asylum is not given willy-nilly to anyone who expresses opposition to the one-child policy, and in this respect, I think FAIR's concern is a bit over-blown). 


Asylum Fraud


The FAIR report is concerned with "combating the documented fraud in the asylum system."  Fraud is a problem in the asylum system, and it is one I have written about before in a post creatively titled Fraud and Asylum.  I believe the most effective method to combat fraud-and I did not see this mentioned in the FAIR report-is to aggressively go after attorneys and notarios who engage in fraudulent practices.  To quote my own blog on this point:


Another option is to identify attorneys and notarios who prepare claims deemed suspicious.  Such people should be investigated and, if evidence of fraud is uncovered, prosecuted.  This, to me, is the easiest and most effective solution.  The DHS attorneys generally know who is producing and/or facilitating fraudulent claims.  Why not send an undercover investigator posing as a client to the suspected attorney?  If the attorney suggests that the "client" engage in fraud, the attorney could be charged with a crime....  Such tactics would reduce fraud by eliminating the purveyors of fraud and by deterring others who might engage in such practices.


So, I am pleased to have found a few points of agreement with the FAIR report.  In a future post, I will discuss some areas of disagreement.  Happy New Year.


Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.

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