Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Thinking about asylum

The Miami Herald runs an excerpt from the Inter-American Dialogue's Latin American Advisor twice a week. Here's an excerpt from today about another great idea from the Bush administration:

Border guards acting as judges called a bad idea

Question: The U.S. government this month expanded the authority of border guards to order the immediate deportation of immigrants seeking asylum, with the exception of those from Mexico, Canada, and Cuba. What impact will the policy change have on other potential immigrants from Latin America? Will it prevent deserving refugees from the region from winning political asylum, as some critics fear?

From Tony Smith, a member of the Advisor board and a partner at Schmeltzer, Aptaker & Shepard: This policy is politics at its worst. It does nothing about the underlying problems: natural disasters, political instability and the U.S. economy's need for unskilled workers. Free trips home will not deter job or asylum seekers. It will only prompt more people from the region to turn to the worst, and most dangerous, routes to gain access to the United States. As long as our leaders make believe that the 8-10 million undocumented immigrants are unwanted, the problem just increases. With the AgJobs bill dead and other initiatives stalled, this policy will only make the growing instability in the region worse. It will not be a deterrent either.

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