Homeland Security tracking Central American smugglers of east Africans

…..but why not start investigating right here in the USA!

I just discovered this blog which I plan to visit often (and will put on our blogroll).  It’s called “Asylumist”  and it’s about , what else, the other half of our refugee resettlement program, the asylum program.   People get confused all the time about the fraternal twin programs—both born of the same law and only differing slightly in their appearance, but not in the results.

A “refugee” is determined to be persecuted and is screened abroad and brought here with the  help of the United Nations and the US State Department (you pay the airfare).  An asylum seeker gets to our borders on his or her own steam and then asks for asylum by claiming he or she will be persecuted if returned to their home country.   And, let me say right here, a true asylum seeker is SUPPOSED to ask for asylum in the first country in which they land.  They are not supposed to make six stops before reaching our borders and then asking for asylum.

The number of asylum seekers is increasing by leaps and bounds.  In 1990 we granted asylum to 8,472 claimants and in 2009 that number had risen to 22,119.  For some perspective, the number of refugees admitted in 2009 was around 74,000.  Both groups are then eligible for most forms of public assistance, legal permanent residency (there used to be a cap on this number each year, but no longer) and ultimately citizenship.   But, here is a kicker.  If someone isn’t granted asylum they can just disappear into America—like the now famous Auntie Zeituni (Obama’s Kenyan aunt)—because no one is detained prior to the decision (or after the decision for that matter).  Up until this year asylum seekers were detained after coming across the border.

What do you know!  Homeland Security is concerned about Central American smugglers of Somalis!

From the Asylumist:

Many African asylum seekers enter the United States at the Mexican border. Their journey to the U.S. is long and circuitous. In East Africa (where some of my clients come from), people travel from Ethiopia, Eritrea or Somalia to Kenya. From there, they go to South Africa and Brazil using false passports, and then through South America (sometimes by boat up the Amazon River!), to Central America, and then Mexico and the U.S. Along the route, they are passed from one smuggler to the next. Its big business for the smugglers: I’ve heard the trip costs between $10,000.00 and $15,000.00, and sometimes more.


Now, if the rumor mill is to be believed, DHS and at least one Latin American government are planning to arrest some additional smugglers in Central America. DHS investigators have been interviewing smuggled aliens in the United States. They have asked the aliens to identify photos of several smugglers based in Central American. While most of the smugglers are from Latin America, at least one is African.

It seems that DHS’s central concern involves the Somalis, who have long been viewed as a potential threat to national security (I’ve blogged about this issue here), and apparently DHS’s interrogation of the smuggled aliens has focused on Somali migrants.

I suggest DHS start by asking some big American NGOs (and immigration lawyers) what they know about the Somalis coming across our border.  It strikes me as a bit far-fetched to assume that some poor Somali with no English language skills should be able to get half way around the world and know to ask for asylum on our Mexican border.   I wrote about my suspicions here earlier this month.

And tell me if this makes sense—poor Somali has $10,000-$15,000 just kicking around to pay for the journey to America in order to get a minimum wage job with a meatpacker.   Who is paying the asylum seeker or the smuggler?

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