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Biden begins to right the asylum ship

To the editor:

Since early February, the Biden Administration has implemented several executive orders to undue massive humanitarian catastrophes perpetrated by the Trump Administration, especially as it relates to asylum seekers. This has not received a lot of media attention but this should be important to all of us and we should all be educated about.

Over the past 4 years, the prior administration went on a public campaign disparaging asylum seekers spreading outright lies about how it is ripe with fraud. The asylum process has numerous safeguards to prevent fraud but there has always been a constant; asylum seekers have been able to come into the U.S. and immediately avail themselves to the protections of the arriving country, not just the U.S., but wherever a seeker may go. There is a hearing in which a DOJ officer determines whether that person has a credible fear of torture or persecution if returned to their country. They are then allowed to stay in the U.S. pending a full hearing with testimony, exhibits etc.

President Trump utilized Migrant Protection Protocols which amounted to thousands of asylum seekers living in squalid dangerous refugee camps in border towns in Mexico, not the U.S. Migrants in these camps are specifically targeted by cartels. There were 1,114 publicly reported cases of murder, rape, torture and kidnapping against these seekers.

The Trump administration used a (non-immigration) rule, title 42 to justify the deportations of 200,000 asylum seekers without so much as an initial hearing, a blatant violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which the U.S. is a signatory. The administration then paid billions of your dollars to private contractors to hold children of asylum seekers hostage. The Trump administration falsely claimed that only 2-3% of asylum seekers show up for the hearing and that they are just running amok in our country. A study from Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse puts the figure at around 99% and even the U.S.’s own Department of Justice states the number is closer to 75% which is made even more impressive by the fact that asylum seekers have no right to an attorney and must navigate this on their own.

While he is no longer in office, lies from our representatives abound regarding these issues. In a recent FB post by Jim Hagedorn, he regurgitated the fact that hardly any asylum seekers show up for court, thus justifying his claim that they are all fraudulent. He provides no evidence whatsoever for this because there is none. He is either alarmingly ignorant of how the process works or a liar. He falsely claims that these “radical”, a word he would marry if he could, polices of allowing asylum seekers a fair hearing is a threat to our national security. Ironic when actual terrorists were attacking our nation’s capital during a forum he contributed to by calling into question the election integrity. The fact that there was a violent insurrection because of lie about an election, and NOT in response to seeing children being stripped from the arms of their parents separated, caged and then lost, is stunning to say the least.

Dan Kalk

New Ulm

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