The United States’ long-standing history as a beacon of hope to people around the world fleeing political, religious, and other forms of persecution is under assault in Congress. A bill, soon to be considered in the Senate, contains provisions that will make it impossibly difficult for refugees fleeing persecution to seek safety in the United States by obtaining asylum.
Under the bill, known as the REAL ID Act, trivial details – like a woman’s failure to recall her date of high school graduation – could be used to deny her asylum, even though she has fled from genocide, rape, forced abortion, severe domestic violence, or the threat of honor killing. Another provision of the bill would allow a torture survivor to be delivered back into the hands of his persecutors; the bill prohibits a U.S. federal court from preventing his deportation back to his oppressive home country while his case is still pending.
The REAL ID Act is based on the false argument that asylum laws in the United States are open to exploitation by terrorists. Current law already bars people who present a security risk from getting asylum – asylum seekers already undergo rigorous security and background checks from the time they apply until their cases are resolved.
basically, aside from quite possibly messing around with the civil liberties of american citizens, the act will make it much more difficult for political refugees to find asylum within the united states. so much for the “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
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