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Political Asylum: yours for the asking

With all the fuss about border security and immigration policy after the release of the 9/11 Commission's report (although certainly not from the Presidential candidates... sigh), I started thinking about ways we can improve the situation. one area that needs cleaning up immediately sprung to mind: political asylum.

Now, asylum has always been a noble project for the United States and other free nations. When people are fearful of oppression (or worse) from their own government, it is only decent and proper that we give them shelter from injustice. It's been that way for centuries, and I would be loath to tamper with it now. But of late, it's been more and more abused -- people claim asylum for the slightest reasons, or none at all. It reminds me of Dennis, the peasant from Monty Python And The Holy Grail -- "Help, help, I'm being repressed! Come and see the violence inherent in the system!" In fact, most of the time we hear about people requesting political asylum is after they have been arrested for entering the country illegally or overstaying their visa.

With that in mind, I have a simple proposal: asylum requests will only be entertained by those who ask for them. By that, I mean that only those people who actively seek out a government official and request asylum will be considered.

The idea is simple: if you really did come here to escape oppression, you have to say so. Tell a representative of the government that's what you're after, and they will help you file your claim. By limiting asylum requests to only people who actively seek it out (or, alternately, are caught within a couple miles of a point of entry, such as an international airport, seaport, or border crossing -- after all, they have to have time to find a representative), we can weed out the opportunists who use asylum as an excuse to remain in the country after getting caught.

I know it's not a panacea, but it oughta be a good first step...



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Comments (4)

Jay,Respectfully, ... (Below threshold)


Respectfully, you're leaving out a major player here: the lawyers. There is an entire industry comprised of lawyers that help people file for asylumn. If you want to go in the direction of "ambulance chasing" here, I sure won't get in your way.

Take a look at how the asylum gambit has been grossly abused in the UK. Then apply the lesson to what you're suggesting.

I love the wayyou talk; gla... (Below threshold)

I love the wayyou talk; glad you could spend some time with us this weekend. Smart thinker...


I am an immigration officer... (Below threshold)
Kay Bee:

I am an immigration officer; boy, do I have my share of doozies of asylum claims (I need asylum because my husband says I am bad in bed and he threw me out, which is abuse worthy of asylum; or, even though I traveled through 5 countries enrotue to the US, I can only feel safe in the US.)

What is also a travesty is that once granted asylum, what is the first thing they demand? A special permit that allows them to travel back to their home country of supposed persecution (to visit sick grandma, for a visit, or whatever the excuse of the day is). And once you get asylum, simply returning to the home country of persecution is not a reason to revoke asylum - it's a permanent status and path to legal residency then citizenship.

I was just thinking about t... (Below threshold)

I was just thinking about the policy much south of us, Jay, and it's like FLORIDA IS SINKING, there's so many assylum seekers. Course I always think of assylum as being "nutty beyond repair."






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