-Obama DHS Publishes Instructions for Asylum Loophole on Internet
-See Illegal immigrant hotel records
-Read Letter asking ICE employees to work weekends to handle influx of illegal immigrants
-Advocates For Immigration Reform Swarm House Republicans
-Visa delayed for Afghan translator who helped Medal of Honor recipient
-Sen. Harkin (Gang of 8 member) on Illegals: ‘I Just Don’t Classify Them as Criminals’
Obama DHS Publishes Instructions for Asylum Loophole on Internet
August 12, 2013 by Lee Stranahan
The process for people attempting to enter the country illegally through the Mexican border has often been characterized as grueling, dangerous and even potentially deadly; a trek across smoldering hot deserts led by ruthless ‘coyotes’ who profit from human suffering.
Meet the new coyotes: immigration attorneys and government rule-writers.
According to the clear guidelines published on the Internet and updated by the Obama administration in mid-June, there’s an easier way to cross to gain entrance to the United States: simply step right up to a border crossing and tell the officials that you have a “crediblee fear” of persecution or torture. Use that exact phrasing and you may be able to enter the USA while you await a hearing before an immigration judge…a process that could take years.
As Breitbart News reported yesterday in a story that swept through the Internet, that’s exactly what’s been happening recently with a flood of new asylum requests that seem designed to overwhelm the system.
The Obama Department of Homeland Security led by Janet Napolitano updated the information on their article Questions & Answers: Credible Fear Screening on June 18th, 2013. The article explains that if you claim ‘credible fear of persecution or torture’ that you can seek asylum, and that the process is subject to review.
Individuals Seeking Asylum
If you are in expedited removal proceedings and found to have a credible fear of persecution or torture, you may seek asylum before an Immigration Judge (IJ). (See definition for Credible Fear in the “Glossary” link to the right)
If the asylum officer does not find that you have a credible fear of persecution or torture, you may request that an IJ review that determination. If you do not request review by the IJ or the IJ agrees with the determination, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may remove you from the United States.
It defines with a “credible fear” is:
Q. What Is a Credible Fear of Torture?
A. A “significant possibility” that you can establish in a hearing before an Immigration Judge that you would be subject to torture if returned to your country (see definition of Torture in the “Glossary” link to the right).
Elsewhere on the DHS site, the government draws a distinction between a “credible” fear and a “reasonable”fear. The credible fear standard appears to be a lower bar, which is likely why it became the key word used by about 200 people a week ago at the Otay crossing near San Diego.
Q. What is a reasonable fear of persecution?
A. You credibly establish that there is a “reasonable possibility” you would be persecuted in the future on account of your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The legal standard is the same standard used to establish a well-founded fear of persecution in an asylum case.
You cannot establish a reasonable fear of persecution based only on past persecution without establishing a “reasonable possibility” of future persecution. After a reasonable fear of persecution or torture is found, the Immigration Judge will decide if you are eligible for withholding of removal or deferral of removal. Withholding of removal only provides protection against future persecution and may not be granted without a likelihood of future persecution. However, if you establish past persecution, there is a presumption that your fear of future persecution is reasonable.
The webpage spells out the Catch-22 of the asylum claim: if the asylum officer finds you have a “credible fear,” the next step is a hearing by an immigration judge. However, if the asylum officer does not find you have a “credible fear,” you can then request a appeal hearing by an immigration judge. Either way, you will have a hearing in front of a judge.
This is where the fun begins, because you will wait for your hearing in the United States under some sort of bond. Effectively, you are free to roam about the country for years. This “credible fear” tactic was used by Lizbeth Mateo, Lulu Martinez and the others in the Dream 9 group of illegal alien activists to gain reentry into the Unites States last week.
As the Los Angeles Times reported:
The protest took root in July when Marco Saavedra of New York, Lizbeth Mateo of Los Angeles and Lulu Martinez of Chicago — all young adults brought into the U.S. illegally as children — voluntarily crossed the border into Mexico as a protest of the administration’s deportation policies. They tried to reenter the U.S. on July 22 with six other dreamers who also had been brought to this country illegally as children but had returned to Mexico more than a year ago for various reasons.
The Times points out the claim that the Dream 9 are making that pushes the legal envelope:
A person seeking asylum must establish a well-founded fear of persecution based on “that he or she belongs to a race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion,” according to Citizenship and Immigration Services guidelines.
Some of the Dream 9 are petitioning for asylum, saying that they have family members who have been killed and face death threats themselves.
However, many in the Dream 9 claim they should be granted asylum because they belong to a particular group of people — that they are singled out and persecuted in Mexico because they have lived most of their lives in the U.S. They could become targets for criminal organizations that see them as easy prey for extortion and violence, they claim.
It bears repeating: some in the Dream 9 are claiming that they fear persecution in Mexico because they spent time in the United States as illegal aliens. They are prepared to argue that illegal aliens are are a particular social group that is due asylum consideration for having been illegal aliens.
It’s such an outlandish argument that it’s one only a lawyer could love, but it will be years until an immigration judge hears it. In the meantime, Dream 9 activist Lizbeth Matter remains in the United States and begins her first day of law school at Santa Clara University today.
August 12, 2013 By William La Jeunesse
Fox EXCLUSIVE: A sudden influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico requesting asylum is overwhelming immigration agents in San Diego, forcing agencies to rent hotel rooms for some undocumented families and release others to cities around the U.S.
Documents obtained exclusively by Fox News show Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been paying for hotel rooms for dozens of recently arrived families to relieve overcrowding inside the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa, Calif., processing centers. Some ICE employees are working overtime and others have been asked to volunteer to work weekend shifts. “Duties include intake, placements, transports and release of family groups and unaccompanied minors,” according to a memo obtained by Fox News.
The surge has raised suspicions about what is driving the influx, amid claims that illegal immigrants have learned they can attempt to get asylum by using a few key words — namely, by claiming they have a “credible fear” of drug cartels.
“This clearly has to have been orchestrated by somebody,” said former U.S. Attorney for Southern California Peter Nunez. “It’s beyond belief that dozens or hundreds or thousands of people would simultaneously decide that they should go to the U.S. and make this claim.” (Nunez obviously did not know posted the information on the DHS website)
Sources say one day last week, 200 border-crossers came through the Otay Mesa Port of Entry claiming asylum while and as many as 550 overflowed inside the processing center there and in nearby San Ysidro.
“People were sleeping on floors – they had nowhere to put them,” said one source, a long-time border agent and supervisor. “This shouldn’t be happening. Unless there is an immediate and well-publicized policy change, this situation will become another debacle.”
At a hotel near San Diego — which Fox News agreed not to identify for security reasons — ICE vans arrived several times over the weekend with immigrant families. They were escorted to the second floor by two armed, uniformed agents. Two border agents secured the entrance and side door.
Documents obtained by Fox News show that recently on a single day, dozens of illegal immigrants were being transferred to an area hotel where rooms cost $99 a night. Others were released to addresses in Texas, Florida and even Brooklyn, N.Y.
ICE sources say the addresses are almost always bogus. When they don’t show up for court, they are removed by an immigration judge in absentia.
Most of the immigrants came from Mexico, but others listed their native country as Haiti, Romania, Guatemala and Iraq. Some were over age 50, others were under a year old. Thirty were transported to a hotel. Seventy were released around the country.
Fox News spoke to four agencies responsible for the San Diego situation last week. All deferred to the Department of Homeland Security press office in Washington, D.C., which issued this statement:
“Credible fear determinations are dictated by long standing statute, not an issuance of discretion. The USCIS officer must find that a ‘significant possibility’ exists that the individual may be found eligible for asylum or withholding or removal.
“If the credible fear threshold is met, the individual is placed into removal proceedings in Immigration Court. The final decision on asylum eligibility rests with an immigration judge.”
It is during this time – during removal proceedings – when illegal immigrants are released. Many don’t show up, as 91 percent of asylum claims from Mexico are denied.
Asylum claims from Mexico are highly unusual and critics say this is an orchestrated sham – it’s not about getting asylum, they say, but about overwhelming the system and getting a free pass into the U.S. and a court date for which no one will show up.
“Hundreds of thousands of people have never returned and the list of people for whom warrants are outstanding is phenomenal,” said Nunez. “We have a long history of people absconding from immigration hearings of one sort of another, they just blend back into the community.”
ICE sources say an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 illegal immigrants a year do not show up for their court date and disappear into the U.S.
The number of asylum claims is on the rise, almost tripling the last four years. Most come from Chinese, Egyptian and Ethiopian immigrants. Fewer than 200 a year come from Mexico, let alone 200 in a day. However, by claiming they have a “credible fear of persecution” if returned to Mexico, the immigrant is entitled to a series of interviews, hearings, proceedings and appeals that can drag on for years.
The initial evaluation usually is done in the border processing center by an asylum officer employed by USCIS.
An immigration spokesman said last week: “The legal threshold for ‘credible fear’ is broad and low to ensure individuals who may face a ‘significant possibility’ of persecution … have the opportunity to have their case heard before an immigration judge.”
Last week, an asylum officer heard the claims of the “Dream 9,” nine Mexican nationals brought to the U.S. as children. Even though seven of the nine lived, worked and went to school in Mexico without incident, they were granted asylum. Most thought they would be deported.
“The orders from Washington are to simply turn these people loose,” said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “All you have to say is you qualify for the Dream Act and/or you intend to apply, and they’re instructed by their higher-ups to simply turn these people loose, to set them free and let them pursue any path they want.”
There are 57 immigration courts and 231 immigration judges. Immigration courts handle 280,000 proceedings each year — an average of 1,243 per year per judge, or four decisions per day.
Asylum can be granted if the applicant has suffered past persecution or has a “well-founded fear of persecution” on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a social group, or political opinion in their native country.
Illegal immigrant hotel records
A list of of hotels that illegal immigrants were transferred to and locations where they were released.
Letter asking ICE employees to work weekends to handle influx of illegal immigrants
Advocates For Immigration Reform Swarm House Republicans
August 11, 2013
BEL AIR, Md. – Immigration advocates are swarming the country this month, trying to persuade House Republicans to pass a comprehensive overhaul. It was hard to tell at the town-hall meeting that second-term Republican Rep. Andy Harris held recently in this town northeast of Baltimore.
The overflow crowd in the board of commissioners meeting room was overwhelmingly white and older, and booed loudly when one audience member asked Harris to support a path to citizenship for immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally.
Loud applause followed as Harris shot the idea down, calling it “a nonstarter” that’s “not going anywhere fast” in the House.
“The bottom line is there are plenty of immigration laws on the books,” Harris said. “The House is in no rush to take up immigration.”
Harris, a 56-year-old physician and the son of Eastern European immigrants, is in a safe GOP district with few Latino voters, and he’s not on target lists drawn up by immigration proponents. So it’s no surprise that advocates wouldn’t be out in force at his events.
Yet his position is far from unique.
For all the effort that business and labor groups, activists and others who support action on immigration say they’re pouring into making themselves heard during Congress’ five-week summer recess, there are scores of House Republicans who are hearing very little of the clamor.
These lawmakers are insulated in safe districts where immigration activists don’t bother to venture, or so hardened in their positions that no one’s even trying to change their minds.
“Most of the energy is being spent on the folks who are gettable,” said Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice, a pro-immigrant group. “We’re not spending a lot of time on Republicans who are clearly going to vote ‘no.’”
With immigration legislation stuck in limbo in the GOP-led House, that reality raises the question of how successful advocates can be in reaching their goal for this month: generating enough momentum to propel Congress to act when lawmakers return to Washington in September.
A week into lawmakers’ summer recess, advocates are trumpeting comments from a few Republicans, including Daniel Webster of Florida, Aaron Schock of Illinois and Dave Reichert of Washington, indicating qualified support for eventual citizenship for those in the country illegally.
It’s unclear whether such developments are limited to a small number of lawmakers, including some in districts with changing demographics or a more moderate electorate, or whether they become widespread enough to compel House Republicans to act on a far-reaching package of immigration bills that could be merged with a Senate-passed measure and sent to President Barack Obama.
The answer may determine the way forward in Congress for immigration legislation, and whether Obama will achieve one of his chief second-term priorities.
“These Republican members are reflecting their constituents, so the challenge isn’t pressuring the Republican members, the challenge is to come up with a convincing and compelling argument for their constituents to agree to,” said GOP pollster David Winston, who advises House Republicans.
As for the endgame in the House, Winston said, “I don’t know that that’s clear yet, and part of what this August interaction with the electorate is going to be about is to define what that looks like.”
For now, immigration legislation is stalled following Senate passage in June of a comprehensive bill with billions for border security, changes to visa programs and a new focus on workplace enforcement, plus eventual access to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants already in the country illegally.
House Republicans overwhelmingly oppose the Senate bill. Many don’t want to grant citizenship to people who broke U.S. laws to be here. Instead of a single big bill, they prefer a step-by-step approach, beginning with border security.
But any action even on that is not expected until October at the earliest because Congress has only nine legislative days in September and they’re expected to be devoted to fiscal issues. So far, no House committee has advanced legislation that would offer a path to citizenship to anyone here illegally.
That’s why advocates know they must change some minds this month.
Of the 233 Republicans in the House, 121 are on a list of House GOP targets distributed last month by senators who support an immigration overhaul. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has pledged only to advance immigration legislation supported by a majority of his Republicans, and advocates have identified a potential majority in support.
But that target list includes a number of long shots. Advocates involved with the umbrella group Alliance for Citizenship are focusing on 50 districts where they view the lawmakers as more realistically persuadable and say they are undertaking aggressive on-the-ground campaigns.
They say their efforts are getting results. They point to Schock’s announcement at a recent town-hall meeting that he supports a path to citizenship with certain conditions, and similar statements from Reichert and Webster, among others.
Rebecca Shi, organizing director for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said Schock was lobbied by businesses in his district, as well as donors, religious leaders and others before making his declaration under questioning from an activist who said she was in the country illegally.
America’s Voice says those recent announcements bring to more than 20 the number of GOP House members who have indicated some kind of support for citizenship.
It’s a position backed by majorities of voters in most nationwide polls. But the story is different in many GOP House districts, which often have few Latino voters and are drawn to make them safe for Republicans.
In Harris’ district, which is less than 5 percent Latino and includes towns north of Baltimore and the Eastern Shore, some residents said they strongly opposed citizenship for those here illegally.
“We’re in competition with millions of illegal aliens,” said Ed Hunter, 55, of Easton, after attending Harris’ town hall. “The law should be enforced. They should be deported.”
Despite the efforts of advocates, it is often those kinds of sentiments that Republicans around the country are hearing.
Visa delayed for Afghan translator who helped Medal of Honor recipient
August 12, 2013 By Justin Fishel, Jennifer Griffin
Never leave a fallen comrade behind. That’s the creed Sgt. Dakota Meyer — later given the Medal of Honor for his actions — was living by when he recovered four dead Americans in the Ganjgal Valley of Afghanistan during a deadly Taliban ambush.
And it’s the creed he cites today as he speaks out to try to save the life of a friend and comrade trapped in Afghanistan.
An Afghan translator, who goes only by “Hafez” to protect his identity, fought alongside Meyer that day in September 2009 and has been waiting three years for a special visa that would allow him to live in the United States. Meyer fears that his application is being caught up in bureaucratic red tape and that if Hafez doesn’t leave Afghanistan soon, he will be left behind.
Meyer says the Taliban has a target on Hafez’s back, and that his life is in serious danger. The situation is made worse, Meyer says, by the fact that Hafez has been waiting for so long to get into the United States.
In a recent email to Meyer, Hafez wrote: “The reason I am bothering you the security situation where I am living geeing [sic] worse, and every night I am guarding to protect me self and my family. If you are getting upset it is OK, I will not bother you anymore.”
In an interview with Fox News, Meyer said he won’t rest until Hafez makes his way to the United States. “Hafez was with me the entire time. He is such a great man,” he said.
Meyer said Hafez’s actions were just as heroic as his own. When Meyer got to the scene of the Taliban ambush in the Ganjgal Valley, Hafez had already been shot and was making his way out.
“I looked at him and said ‘I need you to go back in.’ He had just had a new kid,” Meyer said. “He said ‘Inshallah’ and said if it is my day to die it is my day to die. He was right next to me. … He was handing me more ammo and at one point he got the gun and was covering me.”
Bing West, a former assistant secretary of Defense and author of “Into the Fire,” a book that documents the deadly battle, said because of his involvement in that battle, the Taliban knows Hafez’s true identity.
“Hafez killed many Taliban and he was yelling at them over the radio,” West said in an interview with Fox News. “So the Taliban know who he is and for four years he has been left out in the battlefield — gradually they are going to get him.”
Meyer said that with the drawdown of U.S. forces, Hafez is now out of a job and increasingly desperate to provide for his wife and two children.
“People are going to stop helping us,” Meyer said. “These guys have done so much. I can’t tell you how many times an interpreter has kept me out of a bad situation and probably saved lives. So, I mean, you keep doing this, people are going to stop helping you.”
The U.S. is already facing criticism over the case of Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA track Usama bin Laden and was imprisoned in Pakistan shortly after that raid.
Gen. Joseph Dunford, the head of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told Fox News through a spokesman that he believes Hafez should receive a visa “as soon as possible.”
Meyer and West say there is a backlog of thousands of Afghan and Iraqi translators seeking asylum in the United States. A senior State Department official, who would not comment publicly on this case, said the department “is handling as many cases as we can as fast as we can.”
Indeed, since legislation was passed in 2007 designed to protect Iraqis and Afghans who served the U.S. government abroad, nearly 2,700 translators have been admitted to the U.S.
Hundreds more translators have been admitted through broader special visa programs, although the State Department doesn’t track those specific numbers.
Yet the system remains backlogged and since 2008, it has only approved special immigrant visas for an average of 130 translators per year.
West admits there is reason to be cautious about letting in too many Iraq and Afghan nationals. There will always be a concern about a terrorist threat from someone who slips through the cracks.
But “goodness gracious,” Bing said. “If you are going to cut it off for people who have fought for us, cut it off for everyone.”
Sen. Harkin (Gang of 8 member) on Illegals: ‘I Just Don’t Classify Them as Criminals’
August 12, 2013 By Eric Scheiner
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), a federal lawmaker, said he separates illegal aliens from criminals even though “it’s obvious that they broke the laws and did things that were criminal and they shouldn’t.”
Once again Obama is trying to overwhelm the system to collapse it, destroying our country in the process.
Related previous posts on this blog