Saturday, September 29, 2018

U.S. Government Targets Asylum Mills' Clients


NPR's Planet Money reports that than 13,500 immigrants, mostly Chinese, who were granted asylum status years ago by the U.S. government, are facing possible deportation. As the Trump administration responds to asylum-seekers at the border through detention and more, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Executive Office for Immigration Review are considering stripping asylum status from immigrants who won it years ago. Immigration officials are moving against these immigrants in a sweeping review that federal authorities say is related to a 2012 investigation into "asylum mills." During that probe, federal prosecutors in New York rounded up 30 immigration lawyers, paralegals and interpreters who had helped immigrants fraudulently obtain asylum in Manhattan's Chinatown and in Flushing, Queens. The case was dubbed Operation Fiction Writer.

The U.S. government says the people convicted during Operation Fiction Writer had helped more than 3,500 immigrants, most of them Chinese, gain asylum. Authorities accused them of dumping boilerplate language in stories of persecution, coaching clients to memorize and recite fictitious details to asylum officers, and fabricating documents to buttress the fake asylum claims. In the years after the prosecutions, immigration officials have been reviewing those asylum cases to determine which clients lied on their asylum applications and therefore should be deported.


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