U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) asked the Department of Homeland Security Wednesday to investigate what he says may be fraudulent cases of asylum requests from Mexican nationals fleeing a drug war that has claimed 70,000 lives since 2006.
Hoping to raise pressure on the Obama administration to address the issue, Goodlatte speculated that Mexican asylum applicants are “being coached” on how to apply for asylum, following reports by an ABC affiliate and Fox News earlier this month.
“I am concerned that credible fear claims are being exploited by illegal immigrants in order to enter and remain in the United States,” Goodlatte wrote in the letter. A finding of “credible fear,” a legal designation referring to immigrants who have a reason to fear returning to their home country, is the first step to initiate an asylum claim.
Goodlatte points out that the overwhelming majority of Mexican nationals claiming asylum do not ultimately receive it, using statistics culled from unspecified press accounts. He implies that the applications overwhelmingly get rejected because they are illegitimate...
click the link to see the rest of the story at HuffPo
My editorial comment:
This guy should not be in charge of immigration reform in the House of Representatives. Either he is woefully uninformed or he is being deliberately disingenuous in order to score political points.
He wants an investigation -- what does he think a credible fear interview and the asylum application process are? They are an investigation into whether or not someone has a reasonable fear of persecution in the country they are fleeing (on account of a protected ground). He asserts that most such cases from Mexico (based on drug cartel violence and government/police corruption are denied.
1. If they are being denied, why does he think it is a problem and what would an investigation change about that outcome?
2. The most likely reason that most cases are denied is not that the cases are fraudulent or "coached"; rather it is that, generally, internal criminal violence in Mexico is not a ground for Political Asylum protection. It is the responsibility of the Mexican government to protect its citizens from crime and violence. Typically, such cases do not involve political persecution unless the government is participating in the harm against the individual or is allowing the harm to occur because of the victim's race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or particular social group. Those factors are not always present in the cases made in credible fear interviews and even when they might be present -- they are not often easy to prove. That doesn't mean that the people making the claims are not being truthful or that they are not legitimately fearful for their safety -- it simply means that even so, they ultimately may not be eligible for asylum.
Rep. Goodlatte knows this (or certainly should) and therefore his comments are out of line and merely provocative. It may be time for Rep. Goodlatte to resign from the House and find his true calling on talk radio.