- - Wednesday, November 27, 2013


“Mexican drug cartels exploit asylum system by claiming ‘credible fear’” (Web, Nov. 21) fails to mention the harmful impact of immigration detention on legitimate asylum seekers and the strong support for our country’s parole policy from leaders, including the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

Through our pro bono legal representation program, Human Rights First works with hundreds of asylum seekers applying for protection in the United States. Some of them have made their claim for protection when crossing the border. As noted in your article, the parole process through which eligible asylum seekers may be assessed for release directs that those who present a danger to the community should not be released for parole. Additionally, as the Department of Homeland Security official quoted in the article pointed out, the United States already requires that asylum seekers go through many background checks. If there are deficiencies in the checks used during that process, the government can and should take steps to improve them, but the solution is not to reverse protections in our system for legitimate asylum seekers.

Even today, many asylum seekers are held under “inappropriate conditions in jails and jaillike facilities,” according to a 2013 report by USCIRF. The organization welcomed the 2009 parole directive and in 2013 recommended putting the policy into regulation.

Rather than changing guidelines that may force legitimate asylum seekers to be detained for months or longer in these conditions, our leaders should pursue pragmatic policies that target wrongdoers and are consistent with our nation’s commitment to protect those fleeing persecution.

Senior associate, Refugee Protection
Human Rights First

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More

Click to Hide