The New York Times addresses the great American asylum scam

Well, well, what do you know the New York Times published a feature story on asylum fraud yesterday (Hat tip: Judy)—never thought I would see the day!  I’m guessing it would have  been a glaring omission on the Times part in the wake of the fake allegations against DSK by an immigration fraudster, here.

The NYT:

The man caught on the wiretap urged his immigrant client to fabricate a tragic past if he wanted asylum in the United States. To say that he was a victim of political repression in Albania. Or police brutality. Or even a blood feud.

“Maybe you had to leave because someone threatened to kill you,” the man suggested. “Because of something that your father did to somebody else or something to do with the land. You understand? That can be a way to get asylum.”

Often enough, it is. A shadowy industry dedicated to asylum fraud thrives in New York, where many of the country’s asylum claims are filed. Immigrants peddle personal accounts ripped from international headlines, con artists prey on the newly arrived and nonlawyers offer misguided advice.

The revelation that the West African hotel housekeeper who accused Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault apparently lied on her asylum application has focused new attention on the use of these schemes.

[Thousands are legitimate, thousands!  The NYT reporter has to throw in that caveat when he has no clue—ed!]

Of course, thousands of those claims are legitimate. But each cataclysm provides convenient cover stories for immigrants desperate to settle here for other reasons, forcing authorities to make high-stakes decisions based on the “demeanor, candor or responsiveness” of the applicant. “When there’s a problem anywhere, a horrible slaughter in Somalia, wherever, the first couple of years of those cases are very real,” said Andrew Johnson, an immigration lawyer in Manhattan. “Then the next four or five years, they just mimic those stories.”


“Fraud in immigration asylum is a huge issue and a major problem,” said Denise N. Slavin, an immigration judge in Miami who is vice president of the National Association of Immigration Judges.


Amadou Diallo, the street vendor from Guinea who was shot 41 times by New York police officers in 1999, came from a well-off, stable family. But he told immigration authorities that he was from nearby Mauritania, and that his parents had been killed in that country’s conflict.

It was not true, but he was granted asylum. The scheme was revealed after his death.


Whether here legally or illegally, immigrants can apply for asylum within one year of arriving. To qualify, they must show a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group — which could cover gays or abused women.

Immigration courts across the country granted 51 percent of asylum claims last year, government statistics show.

Such courts in New York City, which heard more cases than in any other city, approved 76 percent, among the highest rate in the nation.

If immigration courts approve an average number of 51 percent of the cases and NYC approves 76 percent, what does that tell you about why so many asylum seekers head to New York!

Now go back the NYT and read the funny story at the end of the article about the latest fraud fad—-save me! I’m gay!

Buffalo, NY: “Compulsive Optimism” is too nice a sentiment

I didn’t see the first part in this series on Buffalo, NY refugee resettlement, nor have I seen the film (Nickel City Smiler) that caused the ruckus.  But, I know the story already.*  It seems that the resettlement agencies working in Buffalo were not happy with being portrayed somewhat negatively in the film.   Film co-director, Scott Murchie, calls it their “compulsive optimism” that keeps agencies from really addressing the problems refugees are apparently having in Buffalo.

It’s really compulsive lying at its core.  These government-funded agencies are in deep trouble if the refugees don’t make it—both with the US State Department and with PUBLIC OPINION in the media (and those two things are linked because the State Dept. avoids negative publicity at all costs).    It is imperative that the One-World activists who drive the program portray a multicultural wonderland in American cities and towns and frankly maintaining that image at all costs works to the detriment of their struggling refugee “clients.”

From Buffalo Rising:

The West side of Buffalo has been getting a lot if attention lately, mostly for the beatification efforts targeting its abandoned lots, underdeveloped business sector, and landmarks rampant with graffiti. The documentary Nickel City Smiler, which focuses on Karen refugees, is trying to bring attention to the West Side of Buffalo and the refugees that populate it. After the film was released, it received some negative feedback from Buffalo’s refugee resettlement agencies, since the film didn’t portray them in a very good light, and inferred that “bureaucratic posturing” is yet again preventing business from keeping its promises.

Scott Murchie, co-director of Nickel City Smiler, says to bash or ignore the film is to take part in what he calls “compulsive optimism”, or pretending everything is fine when in reality it is not.

“The whole perception, the way Buffalo is portrayed in the film is sickening,” said Molly Short, director of Journey’s End Refugee Services.

“The refugees who are featured in the film offer constructive criticism that is based in real, every day experience,” Scott says. He believes the agencies are trying to ignore situations in which refugees are not succeeding.

I’m not sure yet if compulsive optimism has helped our struggling city or not. Nice words are not usually used to describe Buffalo, so it is a nice change to hear some compliments about it. Compulsive optimism only gets in the way because it often causes ignorance of problems that need to be fixed, like the ones portrayed in the film.

By the way, this piece says the agencies are audited regularly—-only if that means about every 5 years and those are “program” audits, not financial audits.

* Check out Bowling Green, KY, another city where Burmese Karen refugees were left in the lurch.

Houston resettlement agencies crying the blues as refugee numbers drop

The ostensible reason that refugee resettlement numbers are dropping this year is that security has been tightened and so (we are told) the screening process is delaying the arrival of refugees.   I think that may be part of it, but I also think the dire labor situation is finally dawning on the brains in Washington.

But, resettlement agencies are whining because they are paid by the head to resettle refugees and no refugees = no pay for them.

So here we have a story from Houston about the crying agencies.  However, readers should take a few minutes and read this post from 2009—Refugee Horrors in Houston—about how some of these agencies were acting as callous head-hunters for big companies.

By the way, Texas now receives the third highest number of refugees in the nation behind California and Florida (see 2008 Annual Report to Congress Appendix).

From the Houston Chronicle:

The number of refugees resettling in the U.S. and Houston has dropped considerably this year because of new security measures, according to the U.S. State Department.

Nationwide, refugee arrivals have declined more than 30 percent, from nearly 54,000 in the first nine months of fiscal year 2010 to about 37,000 during the same period this year.

“We are committed to conducting the most rigorous screening in order to ensure that those being admitted through the refugee program are not seeking to harm the United States,” according to a statement from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Government officials attribute the slowdown to a new “pre-departure” check that went into effect in late 2010. The additional screening is intended to identify information that might have come to light since initial biographical and biometric checks were conducted.

In a case that grabbed headlines in Kentucky recently, two Iraqi refugees were accused of conspiring to send cash and weapons — including Stinger missiles and sniper rifles – to al-Qaida in Iraq. The pair, who came to the U.S. in 2009, were charged in May.

Statewide, the number of refugees resettled in Texas so far this fiscal year is down about 35 percent to 3,730. The slowdown has been keenly felt in Houston, a city that welcomes more refugees than any other in Texas. Last month, for example, 75 refugees arrived in Houston, compared to 132 in June 2010.

“Basically what the state has told us is that because of these new security procedures for this fiscal year, which ends in September, we’re going to see about 70 percent of the number of refugees that we would have anticipated,” said Jeff Watkins, community executive director for YMCA International Services in Houston.

Agencies cutting back

Fewer arrivals means less funding for YMCA International and four other local refugee resettlement agencies, which receive per-capita grants from the State Department to help refugees transition into their new lives in the U.S.

It’s all about the $$$!

Milwaukee: Let’s count our Muslims…..

……and let’s see how much political clout we have.

Here is a story, hat tip Robert, from Wisconsin about a joint effort between a Milwaukee University and a local mosque to do a head count of the Muslim population—to learn where they (the Muslims) need to expand?  What is that supposed to mean?

And, didn’t we just have a census in 2010—are we saying that it didn’t count all the Muslims in Milwaukee?

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are collaborating with two local Muslim organizations to conduct a first-of-its-kind demographic study of the Milwaukee area’s Muslim community.

The survey, which will focus on Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties, will try to gauge not just the number of Muslims, but their quality of life and contributions to the larger community.

“We’d like to have a good handle on the numbers. But it’s not just about the count,” said Othman Atta, executive director of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, which is working with Milwaukee’s Islamic Da’wa Center and UWM on the project.

“It will also give us a sense of the trends going forward – what are the needs for schools, where do we need to expand and how fast?”

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the number of Muslims in the United States is expected to more than double over the next 20 years, from 2.6 million to 6.2 million.

State and local data, however, are harder to come by. Local Islamic leaders estimate there are 12,000 to 15,000 Muslims in the Milwaukee area, but Pew does not offer state data and the Association of Religious Data Archives puts them at less than half that.

By the way, Atta is a Palestinian:

He is a longtime advocate for and a nationally known speaker on Palestinian rights. And while he is expected to continue those activities, that’s not the focus of his new post, Quereshi said.

Sounds like the Islamic Society of Milwaukee is planning to be more politically engaged (once they figure out how many voters they have in Milwaukee).