Crackdown Against Abuse of Asylum Claims Sparks Panic at Telemundo

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ announcement that federal law enforcement and judicial authorities are now working in unison to stop the rash of illegitimate asylum claims that have plagued the U.S. immigration system in recent years is meeting with stiff opposition from Telemundo, the Spanish-language sister network of NBC.

In a speech to immigration judges, Sessions said “all of us should agree that, by definition, we ought to have zero illegal immigration in this country.” But neither Telemundo, nor Univision, can be counted in on such a consensus.

Instead, Telemundo correspondent Alban Zamora was quick to demonize the commitment of the Nation’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer “to end the lawlessness that now exists in our immigration system.”

 

 

ALBAN ZAMORA, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: His position is once again extreme against the undocumented. Jeff Sessions says immigrants are abusing the immigration system.

JEFF SESSIONS: I have put in place a zero tolerance

ALBAN ZAMORA (translating Sessions): I have put in place a policy of zero tolerance for illegal entry through the southern border. If you cross that border illegally we will prosecute you, simple as that.

ALBAN ZAMORA: Putting down the fist, without exception, for those who request asylum.

As Sessions indicated in his remarks to the judges, under the Obama administration powerful incentives were created for people from all over the world to come to the U.S. illegally and claim “a fear of return.” “In effect, word spread that by asserting this fear, they could remain in the United States one way or the other,” Sessions pointed out.

As a result, between 2009 and 2016, DHS credible fear reviews skyrocketed from 5,000 to 94,000 annually. At the same time, as Sessions also indicated, “the vast majority of the current asylum claims are not valid” with only 20% of such claims during the last five years being found meritorious by immigration judges.

Specifically, Sessions has noted that “our asylum laws are meant to protect those who because of characteristics like race, religion, nationality, or political opinions cannot find protection in their home countries." "They were never intended to provide asylum to all those who fear generalized violence, crime, personal vendettas” or other serious problems that people face every day all over the world.

Sessions announcement was roundly condemned by Telemundo’s morning show hosts, who are evidently of the opinion that every victim of domestic abuse or gang violence in Central America (how about in the rest of the world?) should also qualify for asylum in the U.S.

 

 

ADAMARI LÓPEZ, HOST, UN NUEVO DÍA: Well, we were all speechless yesterday, Paulina, colleagues. Yesterday's announcement represents a tough blow to thousands of immigrants, especially those who come from Central America who are trying to legitimize their immigration status here in the United States through the asylum status they ask for, after verifying that they were victims of domestic violence or abuse by gangs in their countries, which is the reason why they come here to the United States seeking help or relief so that what happened in their home country won’t occur in the United States.

López also inexplicably expressed her opposition to the administration’s plans to review and revoke the U.S. citizenship or permanent residency of people who have obtained their status based on an unlawful act or lie.

Rounding out the preposterous comments against Sessions and the Trump administration’s newly coherent enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws, Telemundo host Marco Antonio Regil basically called on the U.S. to intervene in the internal affairs of Central American countries, like some kind of ‘world policeman’ to in his words “end the violence” of gangs and domestic abuse in those countries.

 

 

MARCO ANTONIO REGIL: Of course, and what’s most serious is that they close the funnel, they close your possibilities here in the United States, and the United States with all the economic power that it has, doesn’t work on the origin of the problem which is to help these countries end the violence.

Below is the complete transcript of the above-referenced segment, as aired on Telemundo’s Un Nuevo Día morning show on June 12, 2018. Click "expand" to read more. 

PAULINA SODI, ANCHOR, TELEMUNDO: Look, hopes are fading for thousands of people fleeing violence in their countries and seeking asylum in the United States. The government announced that it will toughen the requirements for those seeking that migratory shield. Alban Zamora has more information.

JEFF SESSIONS, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The vast majority of the current asylum claims

ALBAN ZAMORA, CORRESPONDENT, TELEMUNDO: His position is once again extreme against the undocumented. Jeff Sessions says immigrants are abusing the immigration system.

JEFF SESSIONS: I have put in place a zero tolerance

ALBAN ZAMORA (translating Sessions): I have put in place a policy of zero tolerance for illegal entry through the southern border. If you cross that border illegally we will prosecute you, simple as that.

ALBAN ZAMORA: Putting down the fist, without exception, for those who request asylum.

JEFF SESSIONS: The vast majority of the current asylum claims

ALBAN ZAMORA: During the last five years only 20% of cases have been found meritorious. Asylum was never intended to alleviate all problems.

ALBAN ZAMORA: The U.S. Attorney General explained that asylum applications have tripled since 2009, and that more than 700,000 cases await review.

ALMA ROSA NIETO, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: It is believed that more than half of the cases deal with fear of returning to their countries because of the gangs or because they have been victims of domestic violence.

ALBAN ZAMORA: For organizations like CASA, closing the doors to victims of domestic violence and gang crimes is an injustice.

GEORGE ESCOBAR, CASA: Now it turns out that because of the mere fact that the government they come from is not necessarily involved in the persecution that they suffer for that reason, they will be denied asylum, and in reality that is a crime.

ALBAN ZAMORA: Just as with what occurred with DACA and the TPS, the immigrant advocates say all is not lost.

GEORGE ESCOBAR: Now, once again, we are going to the courts to make sure that ultimately the law of this country has the last word.

ALBAN ZAMORA: Alban Zamora, Telemundo.

MARCO ANTONIO REGIL, HOST, UN NUEVO DÍA: And yes, this contains not very pleasant news especially for Central America, because obtaining permanent asylum legally in the United States from now on will be even more difficult, according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions who we just heard about from Paulina. The official announced yesterday, Monday, that victims of domestic violence or people fleeing gangs will no longer be eligible to receive asylum in the United States. Usually to obtain asylum status it is necessary to prove that one is persecuted in one’s country of origin either because of race, religion, nationality, by belonging to a particular social group or by having a certain political opinion.

ADAMARI LÓPEZ, HOST, UN NUEVO DÍA: Well, we were all speechless yesterday, Paulina, colleagues. Yesterday's announcement represents a tough blow to thousands of immigrants, especially those who come from Central America who are trying to legitimize their immigration status here in the United States through the asylum status they ask for, after verifying that they were victims of domestic violence or abuse by gangs in their countries, which is the reason why they come here to the United States seeking help or relief so that what happened in their home country won’t occur in the United States.

MARCO ANTONIO REGIL: Indeed, and according to Attorney General Sessions, precisely the problem lies in the fact that many immigrants are therefore in quotation marks "abusing" the asylum system and this obviously goes against the interests of those who do have a fair claim. The reality is that, well, asylum requests have skyrocketed from 5,000 requests in 2009 to, listen to this, 94-thousand in 2016.

ANFITRIONA: Paulina you referred to that a second ago.

PAULINA SODI: That's right, what we are seeing now is that what is happening with this policy of zero tolerance on the part of the Trump administration and with the announcement made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is that it is becoming a kind of funnel for immigrants, we saw it first with DACA, in the case of the dreamers, then we see it with the TPS, now we are seeing it in this case of the people who ask for political asylum due to violence or domestic abuse and also another category is being added, which is a reassessment of the cases of people who obtained U.S. citizenship or permanent residency, which will be re-analyzed to see if in the process something unlawful was committed or some lie was said to revoke that permit or that citizenship and return them to their countries of origin.

ADAMARI LÓPEZ: Even worse.

PAULINA SODI: Now we are seeing that every time that funnel is getting smaller and smaller, and the immigrant community in the United States is being more and more affected and fear also increases.

MARCO ANTONIO REGIL: Of course, and what’s most serious is that they close the funnel, they close your possibilities here in the United States, and the United States with all the economic power that it has, doesn’t work on the origin of the problem which is to help these countries end the violence.

ADAMARI LÓPEZ: Of course.

MARCO ANTONIO REGIL: because if the violence ended in those countries, the people would be happy, the people would stay in their countries.

ADAMARI LÓPEZ: They would stay in their countries, no doubt.

MARCO ANTONIO REGIL: They do not want to come here.

PAULINA SODI: That was precisely one of arguments from Attorney General Sessions who said that in terms of political asylum, in these two cases, it was done to give a little support, not to solve the entire problem and that the immigrant community was taking advantage of these types of asylum to obtain benefits.

ADAMARI LÓPEZ: Well, let's investigate which ones are worthy and which ones are not, instead of closing the funnel because there are people who need it.

PAULINA SODI: Indeed.

HOST: It gets complicated, it gets complicated.

MARCO ANTONIO REGIL: Oh my God.

NB Daily MRC Latino Immigration Telemundo Video

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