Hey immigration enthusiasts! Having a problem making our current asylum statutes work for Chinese women claiming to flee the communists' one-child policy?
Simple! Have Congress pass a law declaring these women to be a "political group"—one of the 5 authorized asylum categories.
Then you're nine-tenths of the way to a free pass to America!
Basically, a "refugee" or an "asylum seeker" now means anyone that Congress applies the label to.
Witness the invention of a whole new class of refugees. The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) provides 5,000 "T visas" annually for "trafficking" victims.
All illegal alien women under the age of 18 working as prostitutes are presumptive "trafficking" victims—they've been imported by their pimps. When discovered, they are not to be sent home (why not?) but automatically receive a T visa and can stay in the U.S. with no strings attached.
Adults can receive a T visa if they can be shown to be a victim of trafficking and if they are "willing" to cooperate with law enforcement agencies.
So what is "trafficking"? And how does one sign up to get "trafficked" into the U.S.?
For starters, abuser, victim and client are invariably immigrants. In other words, it is an epiphenomenon of mass immigration. (Hmm! A clue here about how the problem might be solved?)
Otherwise, it doesn't take much to establish trafficking victim status. According to the DOJ, the law can apply to
"the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, in order to subject that person to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery". [My emphasis.]
Which means, among other things, that basically all those domestic servants that the Third World elites like to travel with are eligible for T visas.
Any illegal alien caught in a tractor trailer in Arizona is a candidate for a T-visa-if he can show that he was bound for a job with an identifiable employer to whom he owed a debt.
Up to now, beneficiaries of the T-visa have been evenly divided between sex workers and sweatshop victims.
For the lucky recipients, T visas are a wonderful deal. According to the DOJ, T-visa holders are eligible for all forms of public assistance (cash, housing, medical care, etc.) as well as job training, federal Office of Refugee Resettlement micro loans, and Federal match grant goodies—which can include cars—and an uncountable host of federal grants.
And the victim's entire family—back home in Mexico or wherever—is automatically eligible for the same visa and benefits!
You never hear "trafficking" discussed without also hearing about "rescuing women and children." And who could object to that?
But in fact the visas are being handed out evenly between male and female illegals.
Also, although "trafficking" victims are automatically enrolled in Medicaid, even those trafficked to work in the sex industry are entitled to refuse the free tests for HIV and other STDs.
(On paper, HIV is a disqualification for anyone wishing to immigrate to the U.S.—but this is yet another exception.)
On the books since 2000, the T-visa program began in earnest only within the last year. And so far only 1,000 or so of the new visas, which lead to permanent residency, have been handed out.
At a May 25 refugee conference, Chris Gersten, a former lobbyist and former director of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement lamented
"we gave away millions for services to trafficking victims, but we couldn't find the victims. Now we are giving out money to publicize the program and find victims."
(An aside: Mr. Gersten's baroque title—Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Children and Families, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—is a classic example of the Tsarist-style Table of Ranks that the federal government has established for its exploding class of modern-day nobles.)
Indeed, U.S. Officials recently revised estimated numbers of those annually trafficked into the U.S. down to 20,000 from earlier estimates of 50,000.
But this does not mean, of course, that the T-Visa might be judged, you know, unnecessary.
In fact, in the Nov 2003 re-authorization of the TVPA President Bush announced an additional "$50 million initiative to support the work of organizations rescuing women and children from exploitation and giving them shelter and medical treatment."
And, needless to say, the Refugee Industry is rapidly exploiting the T-visa. Hundreds of organizations claim expertise in trafficking—and therefore a right to the stream of federal and state dollars flowing to combat this side effect of mass immigration.
Among them: the International Institute of New Jersey (Nicholas Montalto, firstname.lastname@example.org), originally founded to resettle Kosovars to the U.S. but now armed with a new mission—and a new reason to receive federal funds.
Then there's my favorite organization: Catholic Social Services in Anchorage Alaska (Robin Bronen RBronen@css.ak.org). How many women are being trafficked across the Bering Straits?
And there's more! Attached as a rider to 2000's Trafficking bill were another 10,000 "U" visas a year for illegal immigrant women in abusive households.
"Battered immigrant women" are all the rage in immigration law, featured in legal clinics held around the country which explore the many uses of the new visas.
According to NOW, its Legal Defense and Education Fund heads up a consortium of more than 400 [!] organizations providing domestic violence assistance to immigrants—that is, assisting them in their quest for visas.
U.S. Catholic Charities has over 100 offices where a visitor in America with a tourist visa can pay $200 to have an asylum application filled out and receive advice on how to to obtain asylum, or a T or a U visa.
Consoling yourself that T-visas can only involve 5,000 immigrants at most?
You underestimate the trickiness of the Refugee Iron Triangle. The T and U visas will follow the exact same course that other asylum grants have taken. Thus the number of aliens who obtain permanent residency under the asylum program is legally limited to 10,000 per year—yet in recent years asylum "grants" have exceeded 30,000 per year. "Grantees" have all the privileges and entitlements of refugees and asylum seekers. They merely have to wait—here—until they can adjust formally to legal permanent resident status.
Furthermore, perhaps even more important, individually denied asylum or T or U visas are still in the country—in numbers even greater than those granted the special visas.
An example: Lee Malvo's mother had tried to gain entry as an asylum seeker. Then she moved on to an appeal for entry under the Violence Against Women Act of 2000. Only her son's capture ended her latest appeal.
Of course, it is not quite fair to cast Malvo's mother in the role of poster child for the new breed of asylum seeker.
But she is at least as representative as the poster children featured in taxpayer-funded campaigns designed to rev up these new programs—programs which are one more small step towards a point beyond which even the simplest of national problems will prove insoluble.
Thomas Allen (email him) is a recovering refugee worker