Skip to main content

Persecutors of Others? Really?

In the early 1990s thousand of thousands of people immigrated to the United States from El Salvador due to the civil war that was raging in the country. People were dying by the thousands, and innocent civilians were being forced to take sides in the conflict, or face death themselves. Young men were forced, against their will, to enlist in the Salvadoran armed forces. Many of the young men fled to the United States after spending a short time in the military.

A vast majority of Salvadorans came to the United States and sought political asylum, claiming fear of returning to El Salvador. Because of the enormous amount of asylum applications received from the fleeing Salvadorans, the Asylum Office of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services only recently began calling people for their asylum interviews (first step in the process of gaining asylum), nearly 20 years after the applicants came to the United States.

Even more shocking than the delay is that many asylum applications are being denied by the Asylum Office and referred to immigration court on the basis that the applicant was a persecutor of others (INA § 208(b)(2)(A)(i)) for having been a member of the Salvadoran army, and being witness to atrocities, and is barred from receiving asylum, this despite the fact that many of the applicants never fired a gun or captured anybody, and some applicants abandoned the military and escaped to the United States to avoid further military service. Unfortunately, in many instances immigration courts are echoing the Asylum Office’s decision that the applicant was a persecutor of others, and are finding them ineligible for asylum, ordering the applicants removed from the United States to El Salvador.

Hope may be on the horizon for these people forced into conflict and did not participate in harming others. The Supreme Court granted certiorari in Negusie v. Mukasey to decide whether a person who was compelled, against his will, to assist or take part in persecution is barred from asylum. Though the case involves an Eritrean citizen who worked as an armed prison guard, it will without doubt be applicable to Salvadorans.

Hopefully the Supreme Court will interject reason and common sense and resolve this issue once and for all. USCIS’s (and consequently many immigration courts’) current position that service in the military automatically equals persecutor of other resulting in a bar from asylum is absurd and the result is unjust.


Popular posts from this blog

If You Are An Immigrant (even a US Citizen), Here Are 9 Things You Should Know

Are you a Naturalized U.S. Citizen, Lawful Permanent Resident, Visa Holder, or an Undocumented Immigrant? We recommend you take the following steps to protect yourself in our current version of America.
The last couple of weeks have reminded immigrants, even naturalized U.S. citizens, that they were not born in the United States. Our office has received countless phone calls, emails, and social media messages from people worrying about what their family’s future in the United States holds.
Most people want to know what they can do now to protect themselves from what promises to be a wave of anti-immigration activity by the federal government. Trump's Executive Order on Interior Enforcement has some provisions that should make most Americans shiver.  We recommend the following actions for each of the following groups:
Naturalized U.S. citizens. In particular if you have a foreign accent, and you are traveling within 100 miles of any US Border (including the oceans), we strongly rec…

Why is USCIS Taking So Long to Renew DACA Work Permits?

If the calls to our office are any indicator, there are thousands of DACA recipients whose work permit applications were filed at least three months prior to expiration, who are still waiting for their renewed work permits.  Without renewed permits, these individuals lose the right to work legally, the right to drive, and may once again accrue unlawful presence.

The DHS published a notice in October 2014 advising DACA recipients that they could file their request for extension up to 150 days (5 months) prior to expiration.  As with all things government, very few of the DACA recipients, who tend not to frequent government websites, knew about the memo and many did not file so far before expiration perhaps thinking that extending a work permit was a like extending a drivers license, its is done in a few minutes.  As an experienced immigration lawyer will tell you, the USCIS does nothing quickly, and certainly does not worry that a person may lose their job or their driver's licens…
Si usted es inmigrante (incluso un ciudadano de los EE.UU.), aquí hay 9 cosas que usted debe saber.

¿Es usted un ciudadano estadounidense naturalizado, residente legal permanente, titular de una visa o inmigrante indocumentado? Le recomendamos que tome los siguientes pasos para protegerse de nuestra versión actual de América.
Las últimas semanas hemos recordado a los inmigrantes, incluso a los ciudadanos estadounidenses naturalizados, que no nacieron en los Estados Unidos. Nuestra oficina ha recibido innumerables llamadas telefónicas, mensajes de correo electrónico y mensajes de medios sociales de personas preocupadas por el futuro de su familia en los Estados Unidos.
La mayoría de gente quiere saber qué puede hacer ahora para protegerse de lo que promete ser una ola de actividad anti-inmigración por parte del gobierno federal. La orden ejecutiva de Trump sobre la aplicación de la ley interior tiene algunas disposiciones que deberían hacer temblar a la mayoría de los estadounidenses. …