Thanksgiving Turkey From PBS
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The definition of asylum has been twisted beyond recognition by the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. Increasingly, what was intended to provide refuge for those fleeing repressive governments is now providing a generous welcome for those claiming flight from repressive social norms. readers can check their local PBS listings for Oct 26 to see the likely future for the “new normal” in asylum admissions.

“Breaking Free: A Woman’s Journey”, part of a fall PBS series on immigration and refugee issues, will detail the asylum appeal of Rodi Alvarado, a victim of severe domestic violence from Guatemala.

Initially granted asylum by an immigration judge, the Board of Immigration Appeals reversed that decision in 1999. At that time Attorney General Janet Reno proposed regulations granting asylum to Ms. Alvarado and codifying the availability of asylum for women and girls who claim to be fleeing domestic abuse. Those regulations were never finalized and are still awaiting final approval from the Attorney General.

It was expected by many that John Ashcroft would formalize the new regulation. The expectation is near universal in the human rights/immigration/refugee lobby that Alberto Gonzales will finalize the new regulation. Indeed, most recently, DHS has urged acceptance of the Reno/Clinton regulation and recommended asylum for Ms Alvarado.

Supporters of domestic violence as grounds for asylum like to point out that it did not open the flood gates in Canada when that country adopted relaxed criteria vis a vis domestic violence. But Canada is only bordered by the U.S. . The U.S. is bordered by Mexico.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has found that domestic violence in Mexico is "pervasive, officially tolerated, and in some areas, legally approved". (Aguirre-Cervantes v. INS, No. 99-70861, Mar. 21, 2001). That certainly goes for most other countries in the region such as Ms Alvarado’s home of Guatemala.

If domestic violence is grounds for admission to the U.S. then we may not need the Bush immigration plan after all. Half the region will be eligible for admission under asylum law. And the other half will not be stopped from following them in. (So much for putting an end to domestic violence.)

The PBS “documentary” on Rodi Alvarado’s “journey” is part of a lobbying effort supported by refugee and asylee federal contractors, large corporate donors and immigration lawyers and enlisting popular opinion molders from Hollywood, TV and rock music.

The Human Rights / immigrant rights lobby is not offering to sacrifice any of its resources to aid victims of domestic violence. It could for instance, lobby for an immigrant status that stopped somewhere short of the full rights and entitlements that a successful asylum claim brings. But immigrants with such a status might require support from the supporters of relaxed asylum criteria. Click here to see what entitlements await Ms Alvarado when she gains asylum. (see below)

I have sat in on sessions where the director of the National Immigration Forum spoke of the importance of timing the release of such quasi-news stories around Thanksgiving when, according to their marketers, Americans are most likely to be receptive to the message in the story. No, I am not saying that Frank Sharry is pulling the strings of MSM puppets, but the MSM is congenitally incapable of talking to both sides on the question of humanitarian immigration. Going exclusively to one side for “stories” differs little from serving outright as a publicity agent for that side’s agenda. One side’s agenda is what viewers are in for with PBS’s Thanksgiving story.

Federal “Means-Tested” Public benefits available to asylees include:

• Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) • Medicaid • Food Stamps • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) • Social Security Disability Insurance • Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) (direct services only) • Child Care and Development Fund • Independent Living Program • Job Opportunities for Low Income Individuals (JOLI) • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) • Postsecondary Education Loans and Grants • Public Housing • Refugee Assistance Programs • Section 8 Subsidized Housing • State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) • Title IV Foster Care and Adoption Assistance Payments (if parents are “qualified immigrants”) • Title XX Social Services Block Grant Funds

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