2005 May 13 Friday
Hillary Clinton Opposes Real ID, Tougher Asylum Rules

A Newsmax article draws attention to Hillary Clinton's Senate Website where Senator Clinton has a message that calls into question the sincerity of Hillary's earlier tough statements on immigration (more here). Let us take a look at what Hillary is now saying about the "Real ID" legislation and about tightening of asylum requirements.

I'm also deeply concerned that on an emergency supplemental to fund our troops and provide disaster relief for areas devastated by the tsunami we are being asked to vote on the so-called "Real ID" legislation. Its supporters say it is supposed to make our country safer, but how do we know that? We haven't had any committee hearings or any debate about it in the Senate. I had previously joined with my colleague, Senator Feinstein, on her amendment to prevent immigration proposals from being thrown needlessly into the emergency supplemental, and I am outraged that the Republican leadership in both the House and Senate decided to ignore this reasonable request and put this seriously flawed act into a bill to fund our troops. Emergency legislation designed to provide our troops with the resources they need to fight terrorism on the front lines is not the place for broad, sweeping immigration reform.

I am in total agreement with those who argue that we need to address our immigration challenges and we must also recognize that we are still not doing what we should to fulfill the demands of homeland security. And these issues do go hand-in-hand. If we can't secure our borders, we can't secure our homeland. We need a much tougher, much smarter look at these issues. Instead, we're faced with a piece of legislation, passed by the House, jammed into an emergency supplemental bill and my Republican colleagues are going to claim that we've made America safer. Well, that's a false claim.

But physical border security is just one layer of homeland security. We also need better enforcement of immigration laws in the interior. The "Real ID" legislation begins to address that need. Keep in mind that some of the 9/11 attackers had fake IDs that they'd purchased off of Hispanic ID traffickers in Falls Church Virginia. Fake IDs, real IDs granted to people without legal rights to be in the United States, and real IDs granted to people using false identities all need to be made more difficult to obtain and to use.

Hillary is opposed to tougher asylum eligibility rules.

We must continue our American tradition of welcoming immigrants who follow the rules and are trying to build a better life for their families. That's why I am so troubled by the changes in immigration, environmental and privacy laws included in this bill. I also worry about the consequences likely to occur because of changes in the asylum rules in the Real ID Act. I'm proud of the fact that our country has historically welcomed asylum seekers and refugees. Utica, New York is one of the most welcoming places for refugees in the entire country. But, under these new rules, we'll see whether America remains a welcoming place for those who seek refuge from persecution and violence.

The original changes in the asylum eligibility rules were watered down due to lobbying by the Southern Baptist Convention and other religious groups who favor more asylum immigration. Given that literally billions of people live under governments that are in some ways discriminating against believers of particular religions I think the idea that someone some should be eligible to immigrate to the US due to religious persecution is nuts. If every eligible person could come we'd have billions more living here.

I see oppposition to tougher asylum rules as a bad sign in any American politician. Many asylum immigrants are really motivated by the desire for higher living standards. In Britain the asylum problem has gotten so bad that in the recent British election Michael Howard and the Conservatives proposed withdrawing from the UN Refugee Convention so that Britain could adopt much tougher rules for handling asylum applicants.

A Conservative government would set an upper limit on the total number of immigrants and asylum seekers allowed into Britain each year of between 10,000 and 20,000. It would withdraw from the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and adopt an Australian-style "points system" for deciding who should be allowed in.

Asylum applications would no longer be processed in the UK instead, they would be assessed in British-run centres near the claimants' countries of origin. There would be 24-hour security at all British ports, and the assumption that foreigners who work legally in Britain for more than four years would have an automatic right to settle here would be reversed.

UK opponents to asylum immigration argue that ridiculously huge numbers of people are eligible of asylum.

Part of the problem lies in the 1951 Geneva Convention on the status of Refugees. This, of course, applies to all European countries but its application has been widened by the decisions of British judges. They have, for example, recognised persecution by non state agents - unlike their colleagues in France and Germany. Accordingly, they have granted asylum to homosexuals from Jamaica on the grounds that they would face persecution from their fellow citizens. And, in the Shah case (1999) the Law Lords ruled that women in Pakistan could constitute a persecuted "particular social group" who were entitled to asylum because they were subject to discrimination and inferior status in Pakistan. (There are approximately 65 million women in Pakistan). Furthermore, the Convention itself forbids imposing any penalty on "genuine refugees" who have no documents. This is being exploited by asylum seekers are who are instructed by people traffickers to destroy their documents so as to make their removal more difficult. The Home Office have stated that 80-90% of asylum seekers are found to be without documents. Other difficulties flow from the fact that the document is an International Convention rather than a national law and, is therefore, much vaguer in its drafting.

In September 2004 the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled to award a Chinese woman asylum in the United States because she feared sterilization in China as a result of her violating China's 1 child policy.

In the opinion, Judges Diane P. Wood and Ann Williams, two of the three judges who decided the case, made it clear they weren't finding that every woman of child-bearing age in China automatically would be entitled to asylum because of its coercive family-planning policies.

But Judge Terence Evans wrote, "I think, as a practical matter, we are either doing, or coming close to doing, just that."

Evans went on to say that "the floodgates are probably open."

Dan Stein sees the obvious problem with this ruling.

"We couldn't let everyone [in China] who wants to have 10 kids come here," said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that favors tightening immigration restrictions. "No country can sustain an asylum policy that tries to remedy broad social problems."

In March 2005 the nutty left wing 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that forcibly sterilized people in China have a right to asylum in the United States.

Men whose wives were forcibly sterilised under China's coercive population control policies are entitled to political asylum in the US, the federal appeals court in San Francisco has ruled.

The ruling could greatly increase the number of people able to stay in the US because of persecution under China's population policies.

"Involuntary sterilisation irrevocably strips persons of one of the important liberties we possess as humans: our reproductive freedom," Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote on behalf of the panel of three.

"Therefore, one who has suffered involuntary sterilisation, either directly or because of the sterilisation of a spouse, is entitled [without having to prove anything else, to refuge in this country]."

That is a huge door to open. Suppose you are a fairly callous and amoral Chinese man who wants to come to America. What to do? Get married, have a kid, then get your wife knocked up again. When the Chinese government sterilizes your wife then apply for asylum in the United States.

Heck, a Chinese man and his wife who both happen to want only one child could have the child and then keep starting pregnancies until the Chinese government sterilizes her. Then they both could immigrate to the United States and get asylum.

The United States needs to cancel any treaty memberships that are an obstacle to cutting back on asylum eligibility and asylum eligibility rules should be made much tougher.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 May 13 09:09 AM  Immigration Politics


Comments
raj said at May 13, 2005 11:08 PM:

If a Democrat is publicly stating that they want immigration reform, there is bound to be something there that is too good to be true. The Democratic leaders know full well that a large segment of their rapidly expanding base consists of immigrants or will consist of future immigrant and their offspring. Hillary was probably privately taken aside and 'disciplined.' Unfortunately, the Republicans of today are too meek on immigration (among a myriad of issues they've retreated from). Some of their leaders, like the Pres., seem to think they can capture large chunks of the non- white vote even though it has never really happened before. There are really no viable candidates on the national level who are, for example, fiscally conservative, immigration reform and stridently against affirmative action. This is a representation of the leftward swing of the political parties since the civil rights movement. It is also why many of us choose to put less faith in politics and voting on the national level. Who knows, maybe the minutemen of AZ are inspiring the populace?

John S Bolton said at May 14, 2005 12:06 PM:

The net taxpayers have the right not to have millions of low income foreigners dumped on the welfare society. No foreigner has the right to assisted immigration on net public subsidy. Illiterates and non English speaking multitudes cannot reasonably be expected to be net taxpayers in these circumstances, and especially not if their persecution consists of not being allowed to have as many children as they want. All countries now have welfare systems; the wish to have a large family by means of aggression on others is not a right, but an obvious wrong.

D.J. McGuire said at May 16, 2005 7:12 AM:

Randall,

Your comments on Communist China's "one child" policy were beyond cruel.

Victims of the Communist policy have had their babies murdered (and by babies I mean after birth), and have had themselves murdered. The idea that someone would risk such a thing on the off-chance of reaching a U.S. court (keep in mind, they would then have to get past the Communist military guards to Beijing's U.S. Embassy or still pay tens of thousands to book passage across the ocean) is patently absurd.

I'm a supporter of immigration restrictions, but to extend them to political refugees based on your supposition is completely deranged.

Randall Parker said at May 16, 2005 9:14 AM:

D.J.,

Cruel, deranged, absurd? Geez, and I think I am being reasonable.

Suppose that hundreds of millions of Chinese could get to the United States. Would you still favor treating them as political refugees?

Your argument appears to be that you favor treating them as political refugees because few of them can get here. So we tell them they can stay if they can get here hut at the same time we hope that they can't manage to make the passage.

By some court rulings much of the world's women qualify as political refugees because women in many countries are treated as second class citizens. So that might be one or two billion women. Any Chinese person who wants to have more than one child also qualifies. That number is probably at least a few hundred million.

Rick Darby said at May 16, 2005 9:39 AM:

Mr. McGuire needs to ponder the lyrics in the 1980s Depeche Mode song: "Everything counts in large amounts."

The immigration issue -- both legal and illegal -- turns on numbers. Although there are also issues of legal philosophy (for instance, whether it is good for a society to reward people who break the law to remain in the country, or whether another country's refusal to permit more than one child should entitle someone to refugee status), probably few of us would get very fussed over the business if we were dealing with a few hundred cases a year.

But when the numbers of illegal immigrants get up into the millions, and the potential number of refugees vastly multiplies even that, the question is no longer just philosophical. It affects the economy, environment and quality of life here.

Being liberal means never having to do any reality testing. For the rest of us, the real-world consequences of immensely large numbers of immigrants override the desire to feel virtuous by opening the country to everyone among the earth's six billion people who aren't happy where they are.

raj said at May 16, 2005 3:13 PM:

"Suppose that hundreds of millions of Chinese could get to the United States. Would you still favor treating them as political refugees?"

Hundreds of millions of immigrants is too much for any economy to immediately handle. But, like GC of GNXP once said, I'd prolly be in favor of illegal immigration from China. If instead of Mexicans crossing the border in droves, we had Chinese we'd be getting a good deal. We'd be getting a high IQ, low crime and studious workforce. Name one country where the Chinese haven't persevered economically. The Chinese diaspora has been noted to often be a market dominant minority wherever it is. Even if that doesn't translate into additional jobs for non- Chinese (which I doubt), that is an expanding lucrative tax base that will surely make any country more competitive.

I'm obviously ignoring the non- economic, cultural reasons for not allowing this level of immigration. If someone wants to suggest this would be bad for those reasons, I could understand why they felt that way.

D.J. McGuire said at May 17, 2005 7:30 AM:

"Suppose that hundreds of millions of Chinese could get to the United States. Would you still favor treating them as political refugees?"

If China is still under the control of the Chinese Communist Party, absolutely.

A nation suffering under Communism is just a different bird, pure and simple. Even a large chunk of the people they send here to spy on us do it against their own will (family members left behind become de facto hostages).

If you are that concerned over a flood of Chinese refugees, swallow hard and take the steps needed to win the Second Cold War and help the Chinese people liberate themselves from Communism.

I humbly submit (and this comes from someone who supports a much tighter border with Mexico) that we wouldn't have half the problem we do now in the Southwest if we hadn't moved against the proto-PRI regime in the early twentieth century.

John S Bolton said at May 18, 2005 2:41 PM:

One aggression does not excuse or justify a new one being committed afterwards. Low income groups are on net public subsidy in any sort of welfare society. No virtues or abilities will make up for illiteracy or inability to speak the language of the country, except in some very infrequent cases. The pity for the victim of communist severity, ought to be more than matched by sympathy for the net taxpayer who is our fellow citizen. How can we be so viciously out of sympathy with the net taxpayer, as to be unable to even conceive of him as having any right not to be attacked and plundered by hordes of suffering foreigners? The kind of suffering being spoken of, is of people not being allowed to have as many children as they might want. The Chinese government, though has all sorts of means of enforcing their population policy, though; they can take away land tenure from those who go over the limit.

Michael Pellerin said at May 23, 2005 8:16 AM:

Real I.D. is a Farce

When you renew your driver's license, who authenticates your proof of identity? What document forensics training did they get? The answers to these questions really do matter.

In the state of New Jersey, we have six point system where certain types of bearer-specific documents are given 1 to 3 points each. When I presented my Louisiana Birth Certificate to a cute, shy twenty-something reading a book behind the counter at the Division of Motor Vehicles, she looked at it and said, `WOW' (emphasis added) `its so big!' I asked if she had ever seen a Louisiana Birth Certificate before and she said, `in the two years i've worked here, no.'

After handing her a credit union cash deposit receipt, she held it up to the light and handed it back to me after a quick glance. I asked wha exactly she was looking for. She advised - things like `funny markings that don't look right, eraser marks.'

The final `proof' of identiy I presented was my social security card. After a quick glance and a smile, she slid it back across the counter to me, without even picking it up off the counter.

I was impressed with her ability to conduct a diligent forensics exam of my three forms of I.D. before taking my picture and giving me a `Real I.D.'

When one is given a `Real I.D.,' either by the state Division of Motor Vehicles, or what ever governmental office is authorized to distribute them, they are then be free to go out and obtain other forms of identification, and gain inappropriate access (ie: an airline seat) predicated upon a `Real I.D.,' obtained from an official who was not qualified (in forensics document analysis) to discern the authenticity of any of the documents given them.

This isn't rocket science folks. Now who is kidding who here?

And when did a `Real Driver's License' ever force a driver to drive under the speed limit? I have nine points on my driver's license, and I earned every one of them. An accomplishment not possible without a `Real Driver's License!'

New Jersey has a lot of financial institutions - banks, savings and loans, credit unions, and a multitude of investment firms offering savings accounts, each of which generate and give you a statement, every time you make a deposit. My credit union has only a few thousand members, and its not even located in the county inwhich I went to renew my driver's license. I wonder what authentication template she compared my barely legible cash deposit receipt against? When asked, she confessed that she never heard of my credit union.

To authenticate a twenty, fifty, or hundred dollar bill, one can hold it up to a light and look for the verticle bar imbeded to the side of the off centered portrait. In examining my social security card, she didn't even pick it up off the counter before sliding it back to me.

So much for `Real I.D.'

Now how many people think an alcoholic with a `Real I.D.' is going to stop driving under the influence because they're carrying a `Real I.D.' in their pocket? Convince just one of the 40,000 motorists in this country who are going to lose their lives over the next twelve months on America's highways that the `Real I.D.' is going to diminsh the carnage on our highways, or spare one of them a trip to an early grave.

The terrorist highjackers which gave us 9/11, couldn't have done it without a `Real Visa' issued by the Departments of State and Immigration and Naturalization Service. With government talent like those staffing our Department of State and I.N.S., who needs terrorists?

Proponents of the `Real I.D.' are nuts. But in America, stupidity remains God given, and constitutionally protected!!!

/s/ Mike P.


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