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In New York, Political Asylum System Filled with Fraud

March 2, 2014
Plain English Version

“Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free”                                                            The Statue of Liberty

Photo by The New York Times.

Photo byThe New York Times.

The U.S. has always offered political asylum. It is for people fleeing their homelands. The reason is usually that they are in danger at home. Most often the danger involves race, religion, nationality or being a member of a social or political group in disfavor.

There is always the danger of abuse. The U.S. Justice Department has come down hard on what they say is a pattern of fraud in asylum applications. It is happening in New York City. It mostly is happening in communities with large Chinese populations.

Officials point to the numbers. In 2012, Chinese immigrants filed more than 62 percent of all asylum cases in New York City. There are more Chinese applicants than all of the next 10 nationalities.

Applicants fear going back to China. Many of the claims are legitimate. But, it is hard to know which claims are honest and which are made up. Asylum is based on “a well-founded fear of persecution.”

In New York City filing phony asylum applications has become an industry. Applicants are told how to answer questions. Documents are forged. Lawyers charge people large amounts to represent them.

Political and religious activity in China is dangerous. Many people involved in asylum application fraud do so because they believe they are helping people. Anything they do is meant to help saves lives.

Applications are clogging up the system. Whether filing a false application is an act of freedom or fraud is in the minds of the people.

Source: The New York Times                                                                                                                                                                  February 22, 2014


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