Archi Pyati, Chief of Policy at the Tahirih Justice Center, exposes the dangerous myths that intensified the Tijuana border crisis and brings facts about the U.S. immigration system to light.
You’ve seen the shocking images.
Children and toddlers being hit with tear gas by U.S. border agents near the Tijuana border. Exhausted families on the run from violence, called invaders and forced to wait in overcrowded, unsanitary shelters to seek asylum in the United States.
As the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. border intensifies, GlobalGiving asked one of our partners at the Tahirih Justice Center, Archi Pyati, to explain four common myths about migrants, along with important facts about the U.S. immigration system:
Myth 1: Migrants pose a risk to U.S. national security.
There is no evidence that the migrants pose any risk to national security in the United States. In fact, nine out of 10 communities with the most refugee arrivals between 2006 and 2015 actually became considerably more safe, according to this bipartisan study from New American Economy Research Fund. The truth? Most migrants are enduring an arduous journey in order to find safety and security for themselves and their children.
Myth 2: The low national asylum approval rate in the United States indicates that applications are fraudulent.
This demonstrates a misunderstanding of the process and law of asylum. Those applying for asylum are often unrepresented by lawyers. They may not be familiar with the law of asylum or how to make a claim. They may not speak the language in which the hearing is conducted. And they may be deeply traumatized yet unable to access mental health care. All of these factors may make is so that a person with a qualifying claim will not succeed. In addition, some who are legitimately afraid to return home may still not meet the stringent criteria for asylum under the Immigration and Nationality Act. This in fact is proof that the law is quite exacting and the process deeply problematic. It shows nothing about the veracity of the claims being put forth.
Myth 3: Separating families and detaining asylum seekers will deter migrants from entering or seeking help.
In fact, those who have no choice but to flee for their lives will continue to do so. Instituting such policies simply traumatizes asylum seekers for no reason, while flying in the face of domestic and international law, and costing American taxpayers millions unnecessarily. In many cases, due to the location of detention centers, asylum seekers do not have adequate access to social, mental, and health services, nor to legal counsel. Alternatives to detention exist and are much more cost effective and humane.
Myth 4: It’s illegal to enter the United States at a place other than a designated point of entry.
Congress has created laws concerning the process of seeking asylum and mandated that asylum seekers may apply for asylum anywhere in the United States. In fact, it is illegal to bar access to asylum. It is critical that any reforms to the asylum system be undertaken through a careful and considered process, not by executive fiat.
In honor of International Migrants Day—observed on Dec. 18—support the Tahirih Justice Center or discover more projects in the GlobalGiving community that advance the rights of migrants, deliver essential services to people who have been forced to flee their homes, and help migrants obtain long-sought safety and security.
This article was originally published on the Tahirih Justice Center website. Read the original article.
Featured Photo: Support Migrants and Deportees at the Tijuana Border! by International Community Foundation