That is what a House Committee heard in testimony from the USCIS on Wednesday. Thanks to a reader for alerting us to this story.
When individuals granted asylum return to the country they’d fled, they can lose their asylum privileges-–but only if U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services knows about it, the head of the agency’s asylum program said during a House hearing July 17.
Joseph Langlois, the associate director for refugee, asylum and international operations at USCIS, suggested that the agency would not have known that Tamerlan Tsarnaev–the Boston Marathon bombing suspect who died in a gunbattle with police–traveled in 2012 to Russia, which his family had received asylum from.
Langlois told the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on national security that he couldn’t publicly discuss the Tsarnaev family in particular for confidentiality reasons. But he did speak in general terms about cases like that of Tamerlan.
When an asylee comes back to the United States after traveling abroad, Customs and Border Protection can alert USCIS about an asylee’s travel, he said. [Gee, I wonder if they were alerted about Tsarnaev and did nothing—ed]
“We do have referrals from CBP. They are not great in number though,” Langlois said.
Additionally, those referrals only come from entries into the United States–Langlois said it was his understanding that USCIS has no knowledge when asylees depart for the country where they said they feared persecution.
The father of the Tsarnaev brothers reportedly applied for asylum after arriving in the United States legally, under a tourist visa, which would make him an affirmative asylum applicant. Individuals in removal proceedings, on the other hand, can apply for asylum defensively, at which point USCIS screens them for credible fear of persecution.
Asylum claims up 400% since Obama took office.
Langlois said the agency is on track to receive about 29,000 defensive applications this year–an increase of about 400 percent since 2009. He added though that there have been large fluctuations in applications, both defensive and affirmative, in recent years.
We have 25 previous posts on the political “refugees”, the Tsarnaevs, in our Boston Marathon bombing category.
Remember that those granted asylum get all the taxpayer-funded goodies that refugees get.