July 11, 2011

Asylum Fraud

From the New York Times:
Immigrants May Be Fed False Stories to Bolster Asylum Pleas

Note the passive voice -- It's not their fault, it's that those poor immigrants are being fed false stories.
By SAM DOLNICK 
The man caught on the wiretap urged his immigrant client to fabricate a tragic past if he wanted asylum in the United States. To say that he was a victim of political repression in Albania. Or police brutality. Or even a blood feud. 
“Maybe you had to leave because someone threatened to kill you,” the man suggested. “Because of something that your father did to somebody else or something to do with the land. You understand? That can be a way to get asylum.”

It's easier to get let into the U.S. legally if you or your loved ones have done something back home that makes your fellow countrymen want to kill you. Emphasize to the U.S. government official how much you are loathed by many of the people who have gotten to know you. What could be better for the citizens of the United States than to import people involved in blood feuds in Albania? If you are some Albanian who minds his own business and stays away from crime and murder, well, good luck in Senator Kennedy's diversity lottery. But, if you are some Albanian that other Albanians want to kill, well, come on over!
Often enough, it is. A shadowy industry dedicated to asylum fraud thrives in New York, where many of the country’s asylum claims are filed. Immigrants peddle personal accounts ripped from international headlines, con artists prey on the newly arrived and nonlawyers offer misguided advice. 

Ah, the poor passive victim immigrants, getting preyed on by nonlawyers who offer misguided advice on how to con the system so that they get asylum.
The revelation that the West African hotel housekeeper who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault apparently lied on her asylum application has focused new attention on the use of these schemes.
The embellished stories go in and out of fashion along with the news of the day, reflecting turmoil in nations around the globe, lawyers say. 
West Africans claim genital mutilation or harm from the latest political violence. Albanians and immigrants from other Balkan countries claim they fear ethnic cleansing. Chinese invoke the one-child policy or persecution of Christians, Venezuelans cite their opposition to the ruling party, and Russians describe attacks against gay people.

Oh, for heaven's sake, can't gay people in Russia go to Google and type in the Russian equivalent of "gay Russia"? In English, I get:
About 102,000,000 results (0.14 seconds) 

Dear Russian gays: Go look up a gay neighborhood in Moscow or St. Petersburg and move there.

Dolnick continues:
Of course, thousands of those claims are legitimate. But each cataclysm provides convenient cover stories for immigrants desperate to settle here for other reasons, forcing authorities to make high-stakes decisions based on the “demeanor, candor or responsiveness” of the applicant.

In other words, the asylum process selects for people with con-man skills.
... Amadou Diallo, the street vendor from Guinea who was shot 41 times by New York police officers in 1999, came from a well-off, stable family. But he told immigration authorities that he was from nearby Mauritania, and that his parents had been killed in that country’s conflict.

How closely related were Amadou Diallo, whose relatives won a $3 million settlement from the NYPD and whose relatives to the U.S. was sponsored by Rep. Charles Rangel, and DSK's accuser, Nafissatou Diallo? How closely related were either to Cellou Dalein Diallo, who was prime minister of Guinea from 2004 to 2006? (It's a common name.)
It was not true, but he was granted asylum. The scheme was revealed after his death. 
Every immigrant neighborhood has businesses that guide newcomers — many of them here illegally — through the complicated process of gaining legal status. Sometimes that means claiming asylum in immigration court, one of several ways to receive it. ... 
“Often, the applicant is misled by various actors with a story that is much more compelling,” said Claudia Slovinksy, a longtime immigration lawyer. “Weren’t they soldiers? Wasn’t it a gang rape?”

More passive voice ...
Whether here legally or illegally, immigrants can apply for asylum within one year of arriving. To qualify, they must show a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group — which could cover gays or abused women.

How about nerds and geeks? If you are some foreigner who got bullied in fourth grade by the big boys, doesn't that grant you a right to live in America forever? Why the discrimination against the neurodiverse?
Immigration courts across the country granted 51 percent of asylum claims last year, government statistics show. Such courts in New York City, which heard more cases than in any other city, approved 76 percent, among the highest rate in the nation. 
Because many claims are based on events that occurred in countries in disarray, with evidence hard to collect, judges have to make decisions based on intuition. 
“A true refugee does not have a note from their dictator,” said Judge Dana Marks, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, paraphrasing a legal aphorism. She said many judges erred on the side of caution. “The mistake of granting a fraudulent asylum case is far less disastrous than denying a genuine one,” she said.

Huh? Have you thought about that for more than 3 seconds, Judge Marks. For example, letting Ms. Diallo stay in America has led to America being humiliated in the eyes of France and the world.
The Manhattan lawyer peddling Albanian blood feuds, James Christo, who was caught on a wiretap, is one of the few people who have been prosecuted recently for helping immigrants commit fraud.

The real crimes are A) Few have been prosecuted; B) Claiming to be involved in an Albanian blood feud is seen as a plus by our immigration bureaucrats.

58 comments:

Nim said...

As many neocons were making the case for war with Iran, they would constantly bring up Iran's human rights record, especially on gay rights. Needless to say, there's been a huge uptick in "gay" Iranians claiming asylum.

Here's very pro-Israel anti-Iran immigration minister Jason Kenny backing more asylums.

http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/594493

RS said...

> Ah, the poor passive victim immigrants, getting preyed on by nonlawyers who offer misguided advice on how to con the system so that they get asylum.

I agree, the state ought to pay for them to have properly-credentialed lawyers for that.

Peter A said...

"Go look up a gay neighborhood in Moscow or St. Petersburg and move there."

Because in Russia it is still difficult for a Russian citizen to just choose a neighborhood and move there. In typical Russian fashion the Mayor of Moscow was actually going to build a "gay neighborhood" (I guess he thought it would make Moscow more hip), but the public was not thrilled with the idea:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtpVTCcTATY

Chicago said...

If they're not from a war zone then I'd say the overwhelming majority are fraudulent. That's what I was able to observe firsthand some years back when I worked in a field bringing me into contact with plenty of them, coming from all parts of the globe.
They learn that they have to tell a good story to get in and obtain instruction in so doing by various involved parties.
The American authorities are gullible for stories that conform to preconceived notions or hit enough of the points on their current PC checklist.

Jack Aubrey said...

Just last week I came across a billboard in my city, Salt Lake, picturing a refugee with a quote, 'Not here for a better life. Here to keep her life' - or words similar to that effect.

The billboard was paid for by the Utah Refugee Coalition. It strikes me then that refugee agencies realize that a growing share of the population understands the general dishonesty of the refugee scam.

Policies for refugee resttlement should be quite simple: resettle refugees in countries that are as close to their home country - geographically, linguisticallyt, culturally, and economically - as possible. That sort of policy would all but eliminate bogus asylum claims. And since NO refugees are from countries similar to the United States, we would no longer be receiving any.

For example, there about 3.6 million ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka. The Indian state of Tamil Nadu, home to over 60 million Tamils, who are an ethnic majority, lies just 80 miles from the Sri Lankan coast. Yet Tamil "refugees" often leave Sri Lanka on boats bypassing India for the Australian coast, over 3,000 miles away.

We are not going to balance our budget on the backs of peoples' grandmas while still handing out billions to refugees.

Anonymous said...

Do you think there's a snowball's chance in Hades that this piece would have been written [much less published] if Dominique Strauss-Kahn's name had been something a little more, ah, pedestrian, like, say, "Donald Smith-King"?

Anonymous said...

"Oh, for heaven's sake, can't gay people in Russia go to Google and type in the Russian equivalent of 'gay Russia'? In English, I get:

About 102,000,000 results (0.14 seconds)


Dear Russian gays: Go look up a gay neighborhood in Moscow or St. Petersburg and move there."

Ah, the kind of research that led Sailer to count "Italian names" in a scientific reference text. The Pioneer Fund must be flush with cash.

Anonymous said...

"How about nerds and geeks? If you are some foreigner who got bullied in fourth grade by the big boys, doesn't that grant you a right to live in America forever? Why the discrimination against the neurodiverse?"

Well, given that Americans came up with the pejorative adjectives, "geek" and "nerd", and that no other society in the World has synonyms in their own languages for these words, I assume geeks and nerds will stay away from the U.S. Or maybe not. Some of them are gluttons for punishment.

Anonymous said...

The AA trifecta: black disabled lesbian.
The asylum seeker jackpot: post-traumatic, genitally mutilated, illiterate, child soldier with AIDS.
That's the one we want...
Gilbert P.

Anonymous said...

This might be an urban myth, but didn't the NYT once run an uplifting story about how all these orphans managed to find their families and reunite under the Family Reunification Scheme?
Gilbert P.

Thomas said...

*yawn* Another day, another government bureaucracy selling the country out for another 30 pieces of silver. We deserve to be humiliated for this, any country that would allow itself to be "governed" in a manner so utterly indifferent to its own interests deserves to be humiliated and beggared into oblivion to make way for something better.

eh said...

If the expression 'beneath contempt' did not already exist, it would have to be invented to describe the NYT.

Although I don't regard this info as new -- while they change a bit over time, it's been fairly well known for some time what kind of story you should tell in order to get the tears flowing. The ink then follows I imagine.

Anonymous said...

....Do you actually know what the passive voice is?

I suggest you read language log articles on it and avoid embarrassing yourself like this in the future.

This article isn't in the passive voice - it contains a lot of agency-avoiding, pity-soliciting language, but very little of it is in the passive voice. That is an actual grammatical term with an actual definition. Please learn it.

Anonymous said...

Albanians are the white equivalent of Somalis.

From 600AD to modern day New York in one easy step.

SFG said...

Actually, we could do with more nerds and geeks in this country, I think.

Besides, they'll have geeky daughters for nerds to date. ;)

Also, I think con-man skills are probably quite useful in the sales-obsessed American culture.

(Seriously, I think they should select for specific skills when letting people in. That's what Canada does and they don't seem to have half the problems we do.)

Shouting Thomas said...

The more I read you, Steve, the more I wonder: "Does it make any difference to know how the government is ripping you off?"

I doubt that it does.

Somewhere, buried deep within you, is an idealist who thinks that understanding the thievery on an intellectual level will lead to a cure. Or, at least I think so.

I don't see the voters as having any leverage over our government. Our government routinely denounces us as bigots unfit to govern ourselves.

Where do you go with that?

Anonymous said...

The Carlos Slim Times strikes again at the integrity and health of its host country.

America has AIDS. Our immune system is on its knees - relentlessly battered by a very aggressive HIV. Result? Harmful foreign bodies admitted by the millions. Soon the country will be food for worms - unless something very drastic indeed is done.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you concentrate on some of the frauds that native Americans commit?

Anonymous said...

There is one thing I like about foreign immigrants: The lower labor rates.

I simply refuse to buy a GM or Ford car because I refuse to support UAW labor. These fat entitled people feel entitled to a middle-class lifestyle. And they make rhetorical war against lower wage workers.

Anonymous said...

America should stop all immigration. Illegals should be deported. And this whole "refugee/asylum" nonsense should be ended.

dearieme said...

Let me in, let me in - I'm a Campbell and the McDonalds all want to kill me. Let me in.

Would that work, or do you have to be from Krapistan?

Anonymous said...

>I'm a Campbell and the McDonalds all want to kill me. Let me in. Would that work, or do you have to be from Krapistan?<

You have to be Jewish or from Krapistan, or both. "Campbell" and "McDonald" sound hideously whitebread.

Anonymous said...

I am far from an expert on the subject, but I seem to remember that Albanian blood feuds are pretty old school--you're in one from birth if you have the wrong last name, and you absolutely can't get out of it without leaving the country. Being the most law-abiding and peaceful member of your clan would actually be a liability in this case, because it would mean that by killing you, your family's enemies could fulfill their clan duty with very little risk that you would be armed and prepared to defend yourself.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it's just like the 'holistic' approach to applying for college. You write an essay about your 'hardship' and plead for special sympathy on the basis of your victimhood, i.e. being a member of favored race such as blacks or hispanics.

Anonymous said...

Often enough, it is. A shadowy industry dedicated to asylum fraud thrives in New York, where many of the country’s asylum claims are filed. Immigrants peddle personal accounts ripped from international headlines, con artists prey on the newly arrived and nonlawyers offer misguided advice.

Anyone else wondering if it's really "shadowy" at all. The Mexican illegals I've known weren't too "shadowy" about much of anything.

The revelation that the West African hotel housekeeper who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault apparently lied on her asylum application has focused new attention on the use of these schemes.

The crooks and immigrants lie to get into the country. Then the gov- er, media, lies about doing something about it. There's symmetry in that.

Svigor

Anonymous said...

IN canada it was revealed a few years ago that 90% 'asylum' seekers from Sri Lanka went back there for vacation a regular basis.

The left/liberals/neocon/globalists don't care, anything to diminish the national character of European based countries is good.

Anonymous said...

Albanians are the white equivalent of Somalis.
perfect example however bad people are, islam makes them worse.

Anonymous said...

Let me in, let me in - I'm a Campbell and the McDonalds all want to kill me. Let me in.

Alex Beaton sings a nice cover of Glencoe.

Anonymous said...

OT First Gladwell, now Klosterman is writing on your turf!

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6760031/is-fastest-human-ever-already-alive

outlaw josey wales said...

So, now that we know Ms. Diallo lied on her asylum application, what happens to her? What is her actual legal status?

Presumably she would be subject to 18 U.S.C. 1001, but do her lies invalidate her presumably legal residency status? Should she be summarily deported after the investigation has concluded?

Lawful Neutral said...

@anon 7/12/11 4:01 AM:

The headline uses the passive voice.

If someone around here needs to brush up a little before throwing around grammar terms he doesn't understand, it's not Steve.

Anonymous said...

Well, given that Americans came up with the pejorative adjectives, "geek" and "nerd", and that no other society in the World has synonyms in their own languages for these words

Why is it that you, who speak only one language and that one poorly, presume to be an authority on the slang in other languages? Is this the best that Soros and his billions can come up with?

Anonymous said...

....Do you actually know what the passive voice is?

Sailer does, you evidently don't.

Why do all liberals combine an enormous opinion of their own intelligence with such a limited command of the facts?

The perfect liberal blog comment is one which seems to sneer from an immense intellectual height, while at the same time displaying ignorance of the topic at hand. That makes you a perfect liberal blog commenter. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

"Why do all liberals combine an enormous opinion of their own intelligence with such a limited command of the facts?"

competence varies inversely with confidence

aka

Dunning Kruger effect

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect

TomV said...

....Do you actually know what the passive voice is?

Steve has misused the term "passive voice" before, but you wouldn't know that from his correct usage here.

You're an idiot.

but very little of it is in the passive voice.

Very little of your life may be idiotic, but you're an idiot here, just as I said you are.

MANSA said...

MANSA
On the Sins of Capitalism

The problem with immigrants to the U.S. is easy to understand. Just as Finance Capital is free to circulate and move to where costs are least so too Human Capital is NOT free to circulate.

People leave their homes travel overseas for the same reasons that capital moves overseas. Unemployed and underemployed people from Africa, Asia, Latin America, Russia desire to move to places where wages are higher and jobs more plentiful.

But immigration policies aare so stringent that the only way to get around them is to get a lawyer who knows the roles and let him/her guide you. The layer knows the immigration judges and officials and for a one time fee he can "arrange" your status for you.

Sure, the refugees lie, but it's a lie of convenience--a case of situational ethics. Governments and politicians lie, situationally.

MANSA said...

The problem is the laws and regulations that allow the free flow of Finance and Business Capital are not applicable to the free flow of Human Capital.

People want jobs at better pay. Capital seeks out the least costs to make more profits,

But immigration laws of the U.S. and other Western nations are tough nuts to crack. There are few options on landing with a visitor's visa--hence the bold creativity of immigration lawyers.

SGOTI said...

Let me get this straight:

So the US economy is now "post-industrial". Therefore we have to import millions of furriners to compete. And now we're importing tons of oppressed gheys from all over the world.

In what are we competing, interior design and Human Resources administration?

K(yle) said...

I am far from an expert on the subject, but I seem to remember that Albanian blood feuds are pretty old school--you're in one from birth if you have the wrong last name, and you absolutely can't get out of it without leaving the country.

Or you could have just started a new one by being a violent scumbag, or you could have escalated or reignited a dormant one the same way.

It doesn't really matter though, because what's going on in Albania is none of our business. It's not even like we'd be taking sides on particular blood feuds. There's no practical measure to ensure that blood feuds won't be coming to America on the backs of Albanian refugees.

What happens in Albania is none of the business of the USA regardless if some innocent person is born into poor circumstances. People are born into the equivalent of blood feuds right here in the USA and we're too busy combing Nigeria for people that are suffering to really give a shit about gangland turf wars, et cetera.

Anonymous said...

"Being the most law-abiding and peaceful member of your clan would actually be a liability in this case, because it would mean that by killing you, your family's enemies could fulfill their clan duty with very little risk that you would be armed and prepared to defend yourself."

Exactly the type of culture we should be importing to the USA, right?

Anonymous said...

The business was organised. Like accountants studying tax laws, the the manpower-export experts of Pakistan studied the world's immigration laws and competitively gambled with their emigrant battalions: visitor's visas overstayable here (most European countries), dependants shippable there (England), student visas convertible there (Canada and the United States), political asylum to be asked for there (Austria and West Berlin), still no visas needed here, just below the Arctic Circle (Finland). They went by the planeload. Karachi airport was equipped for this emigrant traffic ...

Abroad, the emigrants threw themselves on the mercies of civil liberties organisations. They sought the protection of the laws of the countries where the planes had brought them. They or their representatives spoke correct words about the difference between poor countries and rich, South and North. They spoke of the crime of racial discrimination and the brotherhood of man. They appealed to the ideals of the alien civilisations whose virtues they denied at home.

And in the eyes of the faithful there was no contradiction. Home was home, home wasn't like outside; ecumenical words spoken outside didn't alter that.


V.S. Naipaul, "Among The Believers"

Anonymous said...

"The perfect liberal blog comment is one which seems to sneer from an immense intellectual height, while at the same time displaying ignorance of the topic at hand. That makes you a perfect liberal blog commenter. Congratulations!"

Aye, here at iSteve they sometimes calculate the probability of just how many liberals can possibly be at an "immense intellectual height".

Doug1 said...

Even for that small minority of asylum seekers from the third world who are telling the truth and are suffering some sort of persecution why does that make it America’s job to bail them out?

I think we should only offer asylum in rare cases involving noted scientists, writers, etc.

“Maybe you had to leave because someone threatened to kill you,”

People threaten to kill people in the US all the time. Who gives US citizens asylum?

We also shouldn't be taking so many refugees from around the world. They should go to a neighboring country.

Anonymous said...

(Seriously, I think they should select for specific skills when letting people in. That's what Canada does and they don't seem to have half the problems we do.)

@ SFG

Sorry to rain on your parade, but come to Toronto and visit some fine 'diversified' neighborhoods, and you'll see Canadians also good hoodwinked by their PC zealots who let in masses of 'refugees'

BTW, when I say 'diversified', I mean almost 100% black, as they are 'diversifying' people per se. Unlike whites they need not be forced to 'mingle' with others.

Whiskey said...

The bigger question is why this stuff commands so much sympathy from elites and the target audience of the NYT: upper middle class White women.

It is the Oprah-fication of America. Feminine influence run wild, over any moderating masculine influence.

A guy might wonder "hey if we import really tall guys from the Sudan like Manute Bol the Knicks might actually be competitive." Women fall for "horrible sob stories." The entire Asylum process is feminized -- oriented NOT towards "picking up undervalued draft choices" but compassion plus.

Anonymous said...

"Well, given that Americans came up with the pejorative adjectives, "geek" and "nerd", and that no other society in the World has synonyms in their own languages for these words..."

This is not true. The Russian word for a nerd is botanik (botanist).

Anonymous said...

Well, given that Americans came up with the pejorative adjectives, "geek" and "nerd", and that no other society in the World has synonyms in their own languages for these words, I assume geeks and nerds will stay away from the U.S. Or maybe not.

Yeah, human nature is completely different outside the boundaries of the US. You have to be very SWPL to believe that.

Anonymous said...

If an African needs asylum, let him look for another African nation. It's a hell of a lot nearer. And let an Albanian look for asylum in another European nation.

The problem is we cannot say NO cuz our prevailing culture is so 'pro-compassionate' and if you say NO, you're 'racist' and blah blah and 'mean spirited' and blah blah. Let AFricans flee to other African countries and stay there.
Africans are, in fact, not fleeing from oppression but their own incompetency. It's like blacks ruin Detroit and then go to Minneapolis for more freebies.

JSM said...

"Feminine influence run wild, over any moderating masculine influence...
Women fall for "horrible sob stories." The entire Asylum process is feminized -- oriented NOT towards "picking up undervalued draft choices" but compassion plus."

Screw you.

Any man (including you) who favors asylum so they can "pick up undervalued draft choices" is just as much an enemy of us American-Americans (male or female) as even the SWLPest Jewish American Princess fawning over her latest asylum sob-story pet.

Anonymous said...

"Why is it that you, who speak only one language and that one poorly, presume to be an authority on the slang in other languages? Is this the best that Soros and his billions can come up with?"

Listen up, redneck. English is not my first language; therefore, saying that I only speak one language is idiotic. Saying that I only speak one language well is even more idiotic given that my English is better than that of at least 98% of Americans. My English is far from good, but everything must be compared to averages and put in contect.

As for why I claim to be an authority on the slang of other countries, well, I have lived in seven different countries and I never heard a word in their languages that is analogous to "geek" or "nerd". I know the Japanese use the word "otaku" to describe a strange person, and that can be seen as a synonym for "geek". But this is the one example I am aware of.

Anonymous said...

As someone "in the immigration business," my experience is that a large majority of asylum applicants are simply making their stories up, especially in "defensive asylum" claims (claims not made until an alien is already in deportation proceedings).

It should be noted that the typical (non-defensive) claim is first brought at one of USCIS' Asylum Offices where the claimant will be interviewed extensively by a specially-trained Asylum Officer. In my experience, these officers are generally competent and rather good at sniffing out bogus claims. Those who fail to convince the Asylum Officer get referred to the Immigration Judge for a final determination. The problem is that the IJ's are quite liberal on average. Many of them are former private attorneys who have represented clients seeking these claims in the past. As former purveyors of these dubious claims, you can guess their predilections.

The result is that many people lie successfully and obtain asylum. They tell their friends, who tell their friends, and so on. There's practically no deterrent effect against fraudulent claims (well, there are penalties for making fraud claims but they're rarely enforced). This also attracts people like "David Lynn" to the asylum fraud business. He and his crew were able to make about $3 million before they were finally taken down.

http://www.fbi.gov/philadelphia/press-releases/2010/ph061010.htm

Anonymous said...

I know the Japanese use the word "otaku" to describe a strange person, and that can be seen as a synonym for "geek". But this is the one example I am aware of.

Doesn't that example sort of invalidate your entire kooky thesis that no other society in the world (apart from America) has the concepts of "geek" and "nerd"?

I see that British English is among the languages you are unfamiliar with. They use the term "anorak" in the same sense as otaku or nerd.

Anonymous said...

The problem is we cannot say NO cuz our prevailing culture is so 'pro-compassionate' and if you say NO, you're 'racist' and blah blah and 'mean spirited' and blah blah. Let AFricans flee to other African countries and stay there.

Today's leftists are just religious zealouts, and being the anointed ones they have to have to attribute to themselves saintly qualities ("compassion!) and diabolic qualities to their opponents ("hater!"), but they have no compassion for us, and they definitely hate us.

Anonymous said...

Sob stories

This greatly depends on whose sob stories.

You say you don't care what they do to each other in Albania or Africa, but I suspect you will gladly grant asylum to white Zimbabwean refugees.

Maya said...

"Botanik" is "nerd" in Russian? Never heard of it. I've always known the type of guy/girl as "siniy chulok" (blue stocking).

LBK said...

Don't worry, as the American economy continues to stagnate and the standard of living sinks lower and lower, immigrants will stop wanting to come here. If you wait long enough these problems tend to solve themselves.

Anonymous said...

You say you don't care what they do to each other in Albania or Africa, but I suspect you will gladly grant asylum to white Zimbabwean refugees.

Yes!

Anonymous said...

> I suspect you will gladly grant asylum to white Zimbabwean refugees.<

Social policy should be made on the averages (a sensible form of utilitarianism), so this would be preferable to importing the asylum requests of black Zimbabwean refugees. For details on why, see the rest of this blog.