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FRAUD ALERT: Obama Loosens Asylum Restrictions, Claims Skyrocket!

Asylum in the US was the political topic  de jour in Washington  today given a  Congressional  immigration report  and  publication  of  change  in  Administration rules.  The Washington Times (WT)  published  an exclusive report on government revelations  of massive fraud in asylum applications, “Audit finds asylum system rife with fraud; approval laws broken with surge of immigrants”.  The Obama Administration announced that  it was unilaterally lifting certain restrictions against asylum seekers with possible inadvertent relations with terrorist sponsoring groups. That may be the  Administration clearing the way  to grant Asylum to an estimated 2,000 Syrians.   A Fox News report, “Administration” cited   Senator  Jeff Sessions (R-AL) who found  the Administration’s move “alarming”, while Patrick Leahy (D-VT) , Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee that has oversight of the Refugee Act  welcomed  it.

Syrian Christian refugees

Endangered Syrian Christians

In December 2013, the  Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a report that indicated “asylum applicants are at the highest level in two decades and triple the number of claims from 2012”.   The CRS noted that for the 2013 Fiscal year that ended in September “36,026 immigrants have expressed credible fear — a preliminary step in determining asylum — stating that they would like to remain in the U.S. because going back to their countries of origin would put them in harm’s way”. Individuals reaching the US at border crossings, ports of entry and landing at airports can requests asylum for fear of threats in their home country . They are placed in detention for disposition through a hearing process.  The US Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) approved 30,393 asylees immigrants in 2013. In 2012 44,170 requests for asylum were received and  11,978  were granted. Based on data for 2012 the  leading countries of origin for asylum seekers were  China, Egypt and Ethiopia.

A December 2013, Los Angeles Times (LAT) article on the surge in asylum indicated  the magnitude  of the spike in requests:

Most asylum applications are still made from inside the country, rather than by claiming credible fear at the border. People who are in the U.S. legally — on a tourist or business visa, for example — file “affirmative” applications, which have also increased, though not as rapidly as credible fear applications. Combined, the two categories have more than doubled in the last five years, exceeding 80,000 in fiscal year 2013

Statistics show that an immigrant’s chance of winning asylum depends largely on where he or she is from.

In 2012, more than 10,000 people from China were granted asylum, compared with just 126 Mexicans and 234 Hondurans, according to federal data. Immigration court figures, which do not include cases approved in an initial hearing by an asylum officer, show a success rate of nearly 50% for Chinese versus 1% for Mexicans.

Still, the process buys time. Almost 90% of credible fear applicants pass an initial screening interview, which allows them to live and work in the U.S. until their cases are resolved — often a matter of years.

In a House Judiciary hearing in December 2013, Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and Trey Gowdy (R-SC) suggested that the rise in asylum claims may have reflected possible abuse of the immigration system. Chaffetz  said, “these credible-fear claimants almost always get approved and are released into our communities … when their asylum claims are ultimately denied, they simply add to the fugitive population in the U.S.”.

CRS immigration experts suggested otherwise.   Ruth Wasem of the CRS indicated the increase in asylum  claims “alone does not signify an abuse of the claims.”

Today’s  WT report affirms the December 2013 immigration hearing allegations with the release of a heretofore confidential government report by the House Judiciary Committee. It noted “at least 70 percent of asylum applications showed signs of fraud, according to a secret 2009 internal government audit that found many of those cases had been approved anyway”.  The WT report cited:

The 2009 internal report, which looked at claims made in 2005, found extensive evidence of fraud.

Investigators said 12 percent of the cases they reviewed showed clear evidence of fraud. In some cases, adjudicators missed the evidence, and in other instances, the adjudicators weren’t using tools available to the fraud investigators so they couldn’t have known.

House Judiciary Chairman Robert Goodlette (R-VA)  commented:

 Asylum fraud undermines the integrity of our immigration system and hurts U.S. taxpayers. Once individuals are granted asylum, they receive immediate access to all major federal welfare programs. Our immigration system should be generous to those persecuted around the globe, but we must also ensure our compassion isn’t being abused by those seeking to game the system.

The LAT report cited the example of  Chinese asylum seekers in a New York fraud case:

Fraud has been an issue, with underground asylum industries thriving in some ethnic communities.

In New York in 2012,  26 people, including six attorneys, were indicted on charges that they manufactured asylum claims and coached Chinese clients on how to lie to immigration authorities. One church employee allegedly provided religious training so applicants could pass as Christians.

Thomas Mayer, a San Gabriel immigration attorney, said Chinese immigrants sometimes ask him to make up a persecution story for them. He refuses, but the demand is growing.

To weed out impostors, Mayer administers a quiz: “Name two important Christian holidays. What is baptism? Who was John the Baptist?”

The Fox News report noted  the publication of new  rules in the Federal Register on Wednesday loosening restrictions:

The change, approved by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry, was announced Wednesday in the Federal Register. It would allow some individuals who provided “limited material support” to terror groups to be considered for entry into the U.S.

Supporters of the change, including Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., argued that the current ban on anyone who has ever aided terrorists has unfairly blocked thousands of refugees.

“The existing interpretation was so broad as to be unworkable,” Leahy said in a statement. “It resulted in deserving refugees and asylees being barred from the United States for actions so tangential and minimal that no rational person would consider them supporters of terrorist activities.”

This  and the House Judiciary  release of the  asylum fraud report prompted Sen. Jeff Sessions  (R-AL) to respond:

In light of these and other facts, it is thus deeply alarming that the Obama administration would move unilaterally to relax admissions standards for asylum seekers and potentially numerous other applicants for admission who have possible connections to insurgent or terrorist groups. We need to tighten security standards for asylum, not relax them even further.

What is the point of Congress passing a law if the administration abuses its ‘discretion’ to say that law simply no longer applies?

In May 2013, we  asked in a post, Can We Stop Refugee Terrorism? Ann  Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watch noted  in a blog post how alleged suspect Igrahim Todashev, killed by the FBI in a shootout in Tampa, Florida,  entered the US:

From the Boston Globe:

In 2008, the US government granted Todashev asylum, a protection granted to foreigners with a credible fear for their safety in their homelands ­because of religious, political, or other specific forms of persecution.

But Reuters reports that Todashev’s father is a government official in Grozny and has close ties to  Chechen  regional  leader Ramzan Kadryov.

Todaschev was the alleged accomplice of  the late Boston Marathon Bomber Tamerlane Tsarneav in the grisly murder of three men in a Waltham, Massachusetts apartment on 9/11/11.

Mark Kirkorian of the Center for Immigration Studies said  the LAT report:

Giving asylum to all kinds of people who are just using it as a path to a green card is not right. Only by keeping the bar high, so the only ones who get asylum are the ones who are really, really deserving, can it remain politically viable.

For Kirkorian that means those fleeing repressive governments and genocide.  Now we have an Administration relaxing the bar for asylum that might  let in  terrorists like Todaschev; this time from war-torn Syria.  Any priority for admittance of Syrian refugees should be granted to those meeting Krikorian’s criteria; Armenian and Orthodox Christians facing ethnic cleansing by Al Qaeda affiliates and Islamist opposition militias.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.

TAKE ACTION: Republican Immigration Reform will lead to 8 million more Anti-gun Voters

“[A] Pew poll suggests that illegal immigrants, if given citizenship, would vote for liberal, anti-gun candidates by an 8-to-1 margin.” – GOA’s Erich Pratt, commenting on Pew poll findings as reported in The Washington Post (7/22/13)

Gun Owners of America (GOA) in an email states, “Next Wednesday, the House Republican leadership will announce a set of “principles” for immigration reform.  Supposedly, if these ‘principles’ are not well-received, the House will shelve the issue for the remainder of the year. To be blunt:  The health of the Second Amendment relies on demolishing these ‘principles’.”

“Immigration reform will add over 8,000,000 anti-gun voters to the voting rolls.  There may be as many as 11.5 million persons illegally in the United States.  And, a Pew poll from last year indicated that if illegal immigrants were given citizenship, they would vote for liberal, anti-gun candidates by an 8-to-1 margin,” notes GOA

Pratt notes, “This is exactly what happened to California — which was once a Red State.  Because of the Simpson-Mazzoli amnesty bill of 1986, the state lurched violently to the left and now can’t pass gun control restrictions fast enough. If this were to happen at the national level, we would lose the ability to stop massive gun bans and gun registration schemes.  And all of this occurs at a time when a Fox poll shows the American people oppose Obama’s immigration policies by a margin of 36% to 54%.”

The first reality is this:  If the House passes ANYTHING, the Senate will tack on its amnesty bill and send it to conference.  And the national conversation will turn off of ObamaCare and onto immigration.

And guess what?  Every gun-hating institution which moved heaven and earth to pass gun control will move heaven and earth to get the House to retreat — if not to a “pathway to citizenship,” to a “pathway to legalization.”

They will have created the biggest and most motivated Obama-loving movement in the country — devoted to electing anti-gun politicians and retaining Harry Reid’s control of the Senate.

What will Republicans get, in exchange for creating an army of pro-Obama election warriors?

Very little.  (Be sure to read GOA legislative counsel Michael Hammond’s analysis, which shows, in great detail, how the Republican leadership’s “principles” will end up backfiring on gun owners.)

The bottom line is that there is a reason why Barack Obama and his “puppet press” have been campaigning for a year to force the Republican House to wade into “immigration reform.”  It is nothing but benefits for anti-gun politicians, and nothing but pain for pro-gun legislators.

Who would be stupid enough to inflict that level of pain on themselves?

ACTION:   Contact your Representative.  If he is a Republican, the pre-written letter will ask him to reject the ridiculous “immigration principles” being hawked by the leadership — principles that will eventually destroy the pro-gun movement in America.  The pre-written letter for Democrats is a generic opposition letter.

ADMINISTRATIVE NOTE:  Remember that clicking on the first “submit” button on the GOA Engage site (where you input your name and address), only submits your information so that your correct legislators can be identified. Hence, the first “submit” button does not actually send your letter.  Instead, it brings you to the next page where you can actually review the pre-written letter. The second “submit” button actually sends the letter.

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