Falsifying Stories For Asylum

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dana Leigh Marks, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges and a sitting judge in San Francisco, discusses the practice of falsifying stories to gain asylum in the U.S. and the challenge for judges to determine the truth.


Dana Leigh Marks

Comments [14]


i don't know what happened in the hotel room, between the maid and DSK. however, the notion that her lying about circumstances, that may have been imposed on her, as a way of gainging asylum,of necessity, makes her a liar across the aboard,is absurd. in courts, testimony is taken from known hard crimminals, and jail informants. so, please keep an open mind,re the huge political intrigue around this case.

Jul. 13 2011 11:55 AM
Huang from Manhattan, NYC

I work in Manhattan Chinatown for years. l learn that the majority of illegal immigrants speaking Fuzhou dialect have used some reason (one-child policy, religous belief, political persecution, etc.) accepted by American public sympathy and immigration judges to obtain their legal status in US. But most of these immigrants did not even have enough education to understand these concepts.
However, after becoming legal residents, most of them would continue to take advangtages of the welfare system in USA (such as report minimum income to get medicare, free lunch for their kids, free medical care for childbirth, WIC, foodstamp, etc.) . The culture of cheating has become such a natural behavior in their thinking. Many of their kids would feel paying income tax is stupid.
I am sure this behavior is not unique among this group of immigrants. Other immigrant groups must have shared some of these cheatings to some degree.
What conerns me most is what the public schools do to educate the children of new immigrants, so that we will have honest American citizens in the future.

Jul. 13 2011 11:16 AM
Julie Plavsic from New York, NY

I am an Asylum Officer, and I adjudicate affirmative asylum cases for USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services). Your program (and most surprisingly your guest) did not even mention the existence of the affirmative asylum program, which handles the claims of all asylum applicants who are not in removal proceedings before an Immigration Judge. The courts adjudicate only defensive asylum applications (of people currently in immigration proceedings). The Asylum Offices, of which there are 8 around the country, are part of USCIS, not DOJ, and are an integral part of the asylum program. The information on the asylum process as presented on your program was incomplete and misleading.

Jul. 13 2011 11:03 AM
Berkshire from Northern NJ

Any discussion of lying on asylum applications that does not also talk about the conditions in US detention centers (some of which are privatized and run like prisons, with poorly trained guards, poor health and mental health care, where detainees are sometimes abused psychologically and/or physically and treated like criminals), is missing an important part of the picture. If interested in reading a specific case, read "Do They Hear You When You Cry", a memoir about this very thing. There are many immigration judges in this country who clearly do *not* care about erring on the side of the asylum seeker, and asylees know this, as they see and hear a lot in the detention centers. It isn't hard to imagine someone being easily convinced that they have to lie to gain asylum, even when their true story is already compelling.
@Jerry--asylum seekers/refugees don't often know where they will end up when they agree to travel arrangements that can be dangerous. If you landed in a country where you didn't speak the language, or where you didn't know anyone, might you not also want to come to the USA if you spoke English or knew other people here who could help you? It's not nearly as simple as you make it.

Jul. 13 2011 10:48 AM
Edith from NYC

I came to the States from Chile in 1976 'under parole'. My former husband and thousands of other chileans were in prison for political reasons. The US Counsel visited those political prisoners, whose families applied to leave the country, in the concentration camps and interviewed them prior to provide a visa to enter the country.

Jul. 13 2011 10:47 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

This "tone" does not surprise me, as there is an all out war on immigrants.

Jul. 13 2011 10:42 AM

the prople who come here to apply for asylum could have applied in countries they travel through to get here. most asylum seekers' applications are probably fraudulent, if you are in trouble in your country, they hardly let you travel around the planet so you can get a citizenship here.

Jul. 13 2011 10:42 AM
Tracy from NYC

Can the judge comment on what the caller said about asylum being granted more in some parts of the country than others? And is it granted more to people from some countries than from others?

Jul. 13 2011 10:42 AM
Julie from VA

I remember a story in a UK paper a couple of years back where they let in an African who claimed he would get killed in his home country for being homosexual then he was arrested in UK for rape - of women.

Jul. 13 2011 10:37 AM
Edward from NJ

While discussing sketchy immigration practices, it's worth mentioning that immigration judges are not members of the judiciary branch of government. They are employees of the Justice Department.

Jul. 13 2011 10:37 AM
John from NYC

How did the rape victim's asylum application come to light. Aren't such documents protected by the Privacy Act. Why wasn't this a violation of the Privacy Act and a crime?

Jul. 13 2011 10:34 AM
Beth from Jackson Heights

I realize this is a little off topic. But can someone please explain what lying on an asylum form has to do with her having been sexually assaulted?

Jul. 13 2011 10:34 AM
Merrill Clark from New York

I am an asylum attorney.
1. Asylum is not easy to obtain. Most cases are denied.
2. Perhaps Judge Marks is the exception, but the person seeking asylum has the burden of proof to show that the person qualifies. Thus if a person is on the fence on their fence and is unable to show that they will have persecution, then the immigration courts typically deny the case because the person has the burden of proof.

Jul. 13 2011 10:32 AM


Most of these people applying are from war torn countries. Do really need to doubt the atrocities? I think we as a country has been down that road before.

Jul. 13 2011 10:31 AM

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