Refugee Resettlement Watch

The Asylumist: A good source for info. on what else? Asylum

Posted by Ann Corcoran on February 10, 2013

Yesterday I wrote about the “asylum seekers” arriving by the boatload to Australian shores and then had a look at The Asylumist, a website written,with some humor, by an immigration lawyer.  I’d pretty much forgotten about the site (it is on our blogroll), but think I should check it out from time to time because it’s chock-full of information.

Worldwide, migrants are seeking asylum in ever-increasing numbers.

Readers, asylum seekers get to our borders on their own dime (refugees are selected and we fly them here) and often spend thousands and thousands of dollars to pay human traffickers (Some of these are the the OTMs–other than Mexicans–we often hear about from border watchers).  So right off the bat these are not people without resources.  However, if they are granted asylum they too get stuff, just as refugees do—social services, health care, food stamps, Section 8  housing, etc.

Here is my theory on why the number of asylum seekers coming to the US is (dramatically!) on the rise.   The refugee numbers have been stagnating in recent years due largely to much stricter screening for terrorists; the ones coming are increasingly not finding employment;  some refugee contractors and cities are overloaded; and we don’t take “refugees” from countries that are doing well economically or are relatively politically stable.  Plus, I suspect asylum seekers know that if they can just get across our border, that one day Obama will achieve his fondest wish and grant them all amnesty.  [LOL! that could solve some of the immigration court backlog!---ed]

Here is an old post at The Asylumist about the dramatic increase in asylum seekers.  A program once intended to help the occasional Soviet defecting ballet dancer, now dwarfs the refugee program itself.

A new report from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”) shows that asylum claims in industrialized countries have increased 20% from 2010 to 2011 The United States continued to receive the most asylum seekers among the countries surveyed: approximately 74,000 asylum seekers in 2011.  This compares to approximately 55,500 asylum seekers for 2010, a 33% increase (among all countries, South Africa received the most asylum seekers).

The increase in asylum seekers to the U.S. is due largely to higher numbers from three countries: China (+20%), Mexico (+94%), and India (+241%).

The U.S. receives more asylum seekers from China than from any other country.  In 2010, we received 12,850 asylum seekers from China.  In 2011, we received 15,450 asylum seekers from China, an increase of 2,600 people or about 20%.  The large numbers are probably due to special provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act that provide for asylum for victims of forced family planning–these provisions were created specifically to assist people from China, and they certainly seem to have encouraged Chinese nationals to seek asylum here.  Indeed, of the 24,400 Chinese asylum seekers worldwide, the U.S. received about 63% of all cases.  This is a very high number, given our physical distance from China.   If these numbers continue to rise, I wonder whether it will cause us to re-think our decision to grant asylum to victims of forced family planning.

I find it hard to believe that Chinese young men hiding in trucks coming across the border or found in containers on freighters say they are escaping the one-child policy of the Communist Chinese government.  Young man:  ‘I want to come to America so I can have two babies!’  NO way!

Read blogger Jason Dzubow’s other theories.

Who knows why they are coming, but you can be sure American immigration lawyers are ready and waiting to help them explain in politically-correct and legally-acceptable terms why they are “persecuted” and want asylum (besides a job and social services).

What social services you ask?

Once granted asylum these Chinese, Indians, Mexicans, etc. etc. are entitled to welfare.  I kid you not!

In another post, Mr. Dzubow laments the closure of a special hotline for asylees to learn what they are entitled to receive from you, the US taxpayer.

The Hotline is gone and the Office of Refugee Resettlement website is the asylee’s only resource, and according to Dzubow the website stinks.  I think he has a point, I’ve been trying to sort out how the ORR works for over 5 years, can you imagine some Chinese guy who came over in a container figuring it out!

Until recently, if you were granted asylum in the United States,  you could call the National Asylee Information and Referral Line, a toll-free number, where you could speak to someone about benefits potentially available to you (such as food stamps, Pell Grants, medical assistance, etc.). For people granted asylum through the Asylum Offices, the toll-free number was–and still is–listed on the approval notice.

However, as of December 28, 2012, the Info Line is kaput. But have no fear–asylees can still learn about benefits (assuming there are benefits after we fall off the fiscal cliff). Visit the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement, Benefits page on the internet.

Unfortunately, the ORR website is not so easy to use. Admittedly, I am fairly inept with a computer, and so many people might have an easier time with this than me. But it really does seem confusing.

For one thing, the site directs the user to a map of the U.S., where she can click on her state to find organizations that assist with benefits. The organizations that receive ORR grant money are listed, as are state coordinators and directors. The problem is, I cannot tell who to contact to ask questions about benefits. If there is an NGO or ORR employee who helps asylees learn about benefits, this should be made more explicit.

There is a helpful fact sheet available in English and eight other languages, which explains certain benefits, such as the Employment Authorization Document, the Refugee Travel Document, and how asylees can obtain their green cards. But this does not help with medical benefits, food stamps, English language programs, and the like.

Be sure to look at the map.  You will find it interesting too!  Chinese asylee:  What is a Wilson Fish?   American taxpayer: Yeh, what is a Wilson Fish?

Another map worth checking out!  Here is the map at WRAPS showing which countries provided the most ‘refugees’, in the last three months of 2012.  You will see that you can count on two hands the number of ‘refugees’ we resettled from China and India.  Right now the leading sending countries are Iraq, Iran,  Burma, Bhutan/Nepal, Somalia, Cuba and a few others.

For new readers:  We have a whole category entitled “where to find information” and this post will be archived there.

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