Speaking of Asylum-Seekers

Last week, I noted a story about a German family seeking permanent asylum in the United States because they wish to home-school their children.  In the comments section, some took exception to the fact that I felt that the story had direct resonance with the ongoing immigration debate in the US.

Along those lines, I came across the following:

Most of the people at Annunciation House are seeking asylum but U.S policies are less generous to Latin America and favor more political hotspots such as Cuba and China. Only two out of every 100 Mexican applications for asylum are granted, said Garcia, an intense man who does not mince words.

Source:  The Miami Herald, Deportations and divided families along the border

Annunciation House is located in El Paso, Texas.  I can’t help but note that the asylum-seekers in question are not fleeing one of the richest countries in the world because they don’t like the public school system.  They are fleeing situations such as the following:

Across town, a peasant woman rests at a shelter. She recently fled Mexico and the drug cartel hitmen who murdered her husband, oldest daughter and 2-year-old grandson because the husband refused to work as a mule, carrying drugs through the desert into Arizona.

Part of the point I was trying to make in the previous post was:  if one has compassion for a family who want the right to educate their children in a particular way, then one should have even more compassion for persons fleeing drug violence (or, even, those willing to cross the dessert for the privileges of cleaning a McDonald’s or doing yard work). 

Now, granted, compassion alone is not a good basis for making public policy, but the thing that all of these stories have in common is the way in which foreign persons can come to, and stay in, the United States.  It is a system that can be arbitrary and needs a serious overhaul.

FILED UNDER: Borders and Immigration, Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Apples and oranges Steven, apples and oranges. 😉

  2. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Most of the people at Annunciation House are seeking asylum but U.S policies are less generous to Latin America and favor more political hotspots such as Cuba and China.

    Obviously. For as many problems as there are in Latin America the scenarios in Cuba and China are worse. Cuba is a dictatorship that’s a failure even by leftism standards. And although this would be shocking news to the likes of Tom Friedman the reality is that China can’t go 5 minutes without oppressing its people and engaging in wanton human rights violations. Those are the very sorts of things for which asylum was created.

    Only two out of every 100 Mexican applications for asylum are granted, said Garcia, an intense man who does not mince words.

    You don’t say? Duh. It’s pretty tough to hand out asylum like candy to people who live in a liberal civil democracy, with NAFTA having been in effect for two decades. And if we were going to hand out “asylum” to people because they have to deal with rampant corruption and drug violence we’d need to look more seriously at Detroit, Chicago, Philly and New Orleans.

    In any event, the entire system for decades has needed a major overhaul. (gulp) George W. Bush of all people back in the mid-00’s tried to obtain a major overhaul. Of course that was DOA, given the fact of Bush Derangement Syndrome, both on the right and the left. The irony would be lost on the chattering classes.

  3. @Tsar Nicholas:

    Duh.

    Very eloquent.

    (gulp) George W. Bush of all people back in the mid-00′s tried to obtain a major overhaul. Of course that was DOA, given the fact of Bush Derangement Syndrome, both on the right and the left. The irony would be lost on the chattering classes.

    In fact, I very much supported Bush’s attempt at immigration reform. The main opposition to that attempt was the GOP-controlled House. It had nothing to do with “Bush Derangement Syndrome”.

  4. Scott says:

    The different cases definitely show there is not one immigration line to wait your turn on. There are many lines, some (like Cubans) have a fast pass. The system is definitely in need of an overhaul. What the form should be, I really don’t know and I don’t have the wisdom or knowledge to have an opinion. Even if this is a blog.

  5. @Scott:

    The different cases definitely show there is not one immigration line to wait your turn on

    Indeed–this is an important fact that is ignored by most discussions on this topic.

  6. john personna says:

    @Scott:

    I think we have to accept that any nation may grant immigration in an arbitrary way. It is up to them/us to place whatever value we want. We/they will always miss most of the needy and deserving, just because there are so many out there.

    I’m sure there are a billion who would like US citizenship, and would make good citizens.

    Who do we choose?

    I prefer a point system and lottery, but you know … and we can choose whether to give more points to someone fleeing murders than someone fleeing schools.

  7. Scott says:

    @john personna: A different perspective is to choose those who can contribute the most (education, skills, money) eliminating compassionate asylum as a criteria.

    As a child of an immigrant (1925), and as one who benefited, this is not necessarily my opinion and am conflicted on the best way forward.

  8. john personna says:

    @Scott:

    Yeah, I was trying to include choices like that. Given arbitrary choices, country X could run a point system (as best they could) on contributions to their society, economy, general happiness.

    Let in women with optimum waist-hip ratio? lol, not pc

  9. Moosebreath says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    “Bush Derangement Syndrome, both on the right and the left”

    No such thing as Bush Derangement Syndrome on the right side of the aisle. He is still popular among conservatives, and with the exception of immigration reform, his policies still are as well.

  10. gVOR08 says:

    One, sorry, I have no compassion whatsoever for the German family who will be sent back to the horrors of placing their children in an excellent public school system and having to provide their kids with religious or political indoctrination weekends and evenings.

    Two, the purpose of political asylum, one assumes, was to provide political asylum. It’s terrible that Mexicans are subject to drug related violence. But criminal violence is not political persecution. The proper US response is to end our War on Drugs.

    Three, I love conservatives. We need to send all them wetbacks back to where they came from and electrify the fence. But ohhh, that one is so cute, and this one has such a sad story.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    @Moosebreath: To be fair, on the right it’s not so much Bush Derangement Syndrome as the Memory Hole.

  12. George W. Bush of all people back in the mid-00′s tried to obtain a major overhaul. Of course that was DOA, given the fact of Bush Derangement Syndrome, both on the right and the left.

    My Lord, the amount of cognitive dissonance that was required to write that may very well have created a black hole in Tsar’s head.

  13. john personna says:

    @Timothy Watson:

    I think the trick is that it is some kind of “what shit can I say” streaming, and never stays still, even in his head.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Moosebreath:

    No such thing as Bush Derangement Syndrome on the right side of the aisle. He is still popular among conservatives, and with the exception of immigration reform, his policies still are as well.

    I have to disagree. It is the fact that “He is still popular among conservatives, and with the exception of immigration reform, his policies still are as well.” is the purest distillation of BDS. Our friend Tsar has been suffering from it since the campaign of 2000.

  15. Moosebreath says:

    @gVOR08:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Not disagreeing with either of your comments, but neither would explain the lack of support for Bush’s immigration policy among Republicans at the time it was pending in Congress (which was TN’s point).

  16. matt bernius says:

    Agreed on all counts Steven…

    Though, putting on my conservative. devil’s advocate hat for a moment:

    Part of the point I was trying to make in the previous post was: if one has compassion for a family who want the right to educate their children in a particular way, then one should have even more compassion for persons fleeing drug violence (or, even, those willing to cross the dessert for the privileges of cleaning a McDonald’s or doing yard work).

    I suspect they’d argue that the German family “did it right” — ie obtaining a visa, legally traveling to the US, and then applying for asylum. Fairly or unfairly, I suspect that the assumption (if not reality) is many of those fleeing drug violence are crossing the border illegally and then filing for asylum.

    Of course, this type of argument tends to ignore complex class and economic issues.

    And, it also tends to ignore how the country of origin affects whether people care — or don’t care — about the specifics of how certain people enter the country (i.e. Cuban refugees crossing illegally on boats vs Mexican invaders crossing the desert).

  17. @matt bernius: The thing is: I am sure that some people who have applied for asylum from other countries, including Mexico, have entered legally and then applied for asylum.

  18. Barry says:

    @gVOR08: “One, sorry, I have no compassion whatsoever for the German family who will be sent back to the horrors of placing their children in an excellent public school system and having to provide their kids with religious or political indoctrination weekends and evenings. ”

    Or rather, choosing a religious school for their children.

  19. Barry says:

    @matt bernius: “I suspect they’d argue that the German family “did it right” — ie obtaining a visa, legally traveling to the US, and then applying for asylum. Fairly or unfairly, I suspect that the assumption (if not reality) is many of those fleeing drug violence are crossing the border illegally and then filing for asylum.”

    And they are being sent back legally after their asylum claim had its final legal review.
    All quite legal.