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ASYLUM CASES FILED WITH U.S. IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE DISTRICT DIRECTORS
USSR Romania Iran Czechoslovakia Ethiopia China Syria South Africa Poland Afghanistan Somalia Vietnam Hungary Nicaragua Uganda Philippines Pakistan Cuba Yugoslavia Lebanon El Salvador Honduras Sri Lanka Haiti Guatemala
72.6% 70.3% 61.5% 47.4% 43.5% 41.8% 40.8% 40.1% 37.0% 36.6% 33.8% 32.8% 29.8% 27.1% 26.2% 16.6% 15.0% 14.9% 11.9% 9.5% 2.5% 2.2% 2.1% 2.1% 2.0%
306 1,470 13,061
170 1,796 265 207
57 2,971 421 262
98 87 77 397 57 171 1,004 32
3 39 112
115 619 8,173
188 2,325 368 300
729 512 153
276 435 433 2,266
421 1,623 37,666 1,407
141 1,795 5,411
74 382 987 119 691 526
10 575 602
47 456 98 21 14 285
7 5 14 76
4 58 337 14 1 3 67
11 57 446
36 236 23 15
18 63 13 186 77
124 13,861 1,009
453 19,929 388
41 707 6,287
• The totals include all nationalities, not just those listed on the tables. Of the total 101,679 asylum applications filed in Fiscal 1989, 85 percent were filed by nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
(The INS began recording asylum statistics in May 1983 by numbers of cases. Each case or application may include more than one asylum seeker. Prior to June 1983, INS asylum figures provided the number of individual applicants. To avoid inconsistency, the charts above include data provided by the INS following May 1983. The charts are based on data for asylum cases filed with INS district directors only. Many applications for asylum are filed with immigration judges in the context of deportation proceedings.)
Source: Immigration and Naturalization Service/United States Department of Justice (published in “Refugee Reports,” December 29, 1989).
(From the San Francisco Chronicle, June 30, 1990)
CONTRADICTIONS IN ASYLUM TAPE-WORKERS ADVISED TO GO WITH U.S. POLICY
(By Robert Kahn) BROWNSVILLE, Texas.—The training videotape of a State Department employee lecturing federal immigration workers on how to judge political asylum applications appears to support critics' charges that asylum decisions are influenced by U.S. foreign policy concerns.
The tape, obtained by human rights advocates and made available to a reporter, has angered those who work with undocumented immigrants and would-be American citizens.
In the tape, Mark McCleggen, of the State Department's Bureau of Human Rights, suggests that Immigration and Naturalization Service employees "go with” State Department policy rather than consider individual asylum claims on their merits.
He appears to make light of the fate of Salvadorans not granted asylum, saying “there is a running joke back at the Bureau (of Humans Rights)” about Salvadorans killed in that country's civil war.
The State Department acknowledges that McCleggen did go to Los Angeles to address an INS group in December, 1988. But David Burgess, a spokesman for the State Department's Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, was unaware of the tape's content. “We can't defend or deny" any thing on the videotape, Burgess said.
McCleggen no longer works for the State Department and attempts to locate him were unsuccessful.
Virginia Dice, INS spokeswoman in Los Angeles, said the tape was never used in training. She declined to comment on its content and referred questions to INS officials in Washington. Those officials did not return telephone calls.
The videotape was made as thousands of Central Americans were entering the United States each week in late 1988. To respond, the INS formed task forces in Los Angeles and south Texas to give quick asylum interviews and issue same-day decisions on political asylum claims. The process had formerly taken weeks or months. Employees of INS were given brief training sessions and then assigned to adjudicate asylum claims.
WELL-FOUNDED FEAR Under the 1980 Refugee Act, immigrants can be granted political asylum if they show a "well-founded fear of persecution” for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
Refugee advocates say that INS uses a double standard in judging asylum claims: refusing asylum to people fleeing violence from U.S. allies such as El Salvador and Guatemala, and granting it to people fleeing lefist governments.
A RUNNING JOKE
In the videotape, McCleggen says INS examiners “have to assume” that refugees "will adjust the truth or exaggerate" their claims of persecution. He noted that one asylum applicant claimed that his mother, brother and sister were killed in successive months but that “this person was denied.”
“People are taken away by death squads,” McCleggen explained, "... but it wouldn't happen within a matter of months. They would kill your mother on Monday and shoot your brother on Wednesday and come for you on Thursday."
McCleggen said "the most popular” claim Salvadorans make for asylum is, "My cousin was killed by the guerrillas . . .” We have a running joke back at the Bureau (that) there are no cousins left in El Salvador."
Laredo immigration attorney Patrick Hughes said the comment shows “outrageous insensitivity to the suffering of the Salvadoran people.” Hughes who worked with the Salvadoran Human Rights Commission documenting human rights abuses there in 1987-89, said, “To make a joke about the murder of 70,000 Salvadoran people shows the same insensitivity the U.S. Congress shows by funding the Salvadoran military, who commit the abuses."
Many statements on the tape allegedly violate U.S. law, said attorney Arthur Helton, director of the Refugee Project of the New York-based Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.
Helton said it seems that the INS was training its employees in “pre-judgment as opposed to adjudication. It was the invitation to pre-judgment that I think was most serious.”
Duke Austin, the INS spokesman in Washington, has long denied that State Department policy or political factors influence INS asylum decisions.
However, when an INS trainee asked McCleggen what to do if refugees describe credible incidents of persecution by a government friendly to the United States, McCleggen's taped reply was: “Stick with the State Department response.'
Dan Kesselbrenner, director of the National Lawyers Guild's Immigrants Rights Project in Boston, said the training session “violates the spirit of the law.” “It presumes refugees are lying," Kesselbrenner said.
WELCOME TO PRESIDENT'S REPRESENTATIVES Senator KENNEDY. We again welcome our Deputy Secretary of State, Larry Eagleburger, representing the President on next year's program for the refugees. We are always glad to have Secretary Eagleburger. We may differ with different aspects of the policy, but I think all of us in the Senate find that Secretary Eagleburger is willing to hear us out on these matters. We value very much that quality as well as leadership that he provides in many different areas.
We welcome James Hall, the U.S. Coordinator for Refugee Affairs; Ambassador Princeton Lyman, who is the Director of Bureau of Refugee Programs, Department of State. I see Commissioner McNary is here in the room as well. We want to welcome him back. We are glad to have him at the table. And we have Chris Gersten, Director, Office of Refugee Resettlement, Department of Health and Human Services.
PANEL CONSISTING OF HON. LAWRENCE S. EAGLEBURGER, DEPU
TY SECRETARY OF STATE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE; JAMES
I am here today to discuss the global refugee situation and to present the President's proposed refugee admissions levels for fiscal year 1991. I hope I can be brief.
I would like to begin with a discussion of trends in refugee affairs over the past year. I will then turn to some specific areas of concern, including the United States response to Soviet emigration, the comprehensive plan of action for Indochinese refugees, and the current situations in the Persian Gulf and Liberia. Finally, I will summarize the proposed admissions levels for refugees for the coming fiscal year.
The ideal solution for any refugee situation is that the conditions which caused the refugees to flee be brought to an end. The opportunity to reconstruct a life in one's homeland, with one's own language and culture, is a far more humane solution than to become an outsider in a foreign land. The enormous changes in world politics since we consulted in refugee concerns over a year ago have had a significant impact on the potential for voluntary repatriation of refugees.
PROGRESS IN REGIONAL CONFLICTS
The warming of relations between the superpowers has meant that many regional conflicts may be on the road to resolution. The progress in Afghanistan and Cambodia offers the possibility that refugees created by these conflicts may have the opportunity to return to their homes in the not too distant future.
There have also been major repatriation efforts over the past year in Central America for Salvadorans and Nicaraguans. While the pace of the returns is affected by the absorptive capacity of these countries, we are especially gratified that more than 30,000 Central Americans are now back in their home countries.
And in Africa, some 43,000 Namibians have returned home after long years of exile to help launch the world's newest independent state.
OPENINGS IN EASTERN EUROPE AND SOVIET UNION
Another major political change since last year has been the spread of democracy and freedom of expression in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. While this, too, may lead to large repatriations, especially to East European nations, the rapid change in governments has also unleashed long-repressed ethnic tensions in those regions. The fear of ethnic strife plus a legacy of official persecution, particularly in the Soviet Union, has prompted many Jews, Evangelical Christians, and other religions and ethnic minorities there to seize the opportunity to emigrate. This has presented us with some major challenges in our resettlement program, to which I will refer in a moment.
MOST REFUGEES CANNOT RETURN NOW
For the majority of the world's 15 million refugees, however, repatriation is still not a viable option. Moreover, integration and acceptance by the country of asylum is available only to a limited number of these refugees. And resettlement to a third country is available to even fewer.
Many refugees who will not be resettled or repatriated have been in asylum for an extended period of time. They need food, water, shelter, the provision of sanitation facilities, and medical care. They also need international organizations to monitor their protection. As refugees wait for political and social conditions to enable them to return home, the international community must be prepared to provide the resources necessary to sustain them.
FINANCIAL CONSTRAINTS A major thrust of congressional attention to refugee affairs worldwide this year has been the dire financial straits of the international organizations which assist refugees and conflict victims. Severe fiscal crises have resulted from a rapid growth in the