By Joe Guzzardi
September 22, 2014
The United States’ refusal to enforce its immigration laws has made it the world’s laughing stock. Statues have been erected as a tribute to America’s preposterous, unsustainable and self-defeating world-welcoming policies.
In the small town of Salcaja, Guatemala, located 7,500 feet above sea level in the country’s western mountain range, stands a 40-foot statue that honors its illegal immigrants that have fled to the U.S. The statue, which depicts a tall man with long, black hair carrying a backpack, wearing overalls, and facing north with his arms outstretched towards the U.S. is named “Homage to the Migrants.” On the pedestal read these words: “Migrant of Salcaja, emigrant of valor that by making your dream, you make the sweetest love.”
During the statue’s 2010 unveiling, Salcaja Mayor Miguel Ovalle said that between 1980 and 1985, the town’s population began to “migrate” (enter the U.S. unlawfully). More than 5,000 aliens have sent back $315 million in remittances. According to the Bank of Guatemala, in 2013 1.5 million expats sent $5.4 billion home, making Guatemala Central America’s top remittance receiving country. Those billions wired back represent earnings from illegal immigrant labor, most of it generated when aliens displace U.S. workers. Although much is written positively about remittances and their supposed benefits to impoverished countries, little is said about the source of the cash and the victims—American jobs and American workers.
Soon, there may be similar statues throughout Guatemala which bring attention to U.S. immigration folly. With the hottest weather over, violence in Guatemala increasing and the paucity of deportations from this summer’s illegal immigration waves, Guatemalans are poised to renew their treks to the U. S. Not only will they come illegally, encouraged by Spanish-language newspapers which report extensively and glowingly on alien resettlement, but also by a new legal loophole which will open the door for thousands more.
Last month, the Board of Immigration Appeals announced it would let Guatemalan women claiming to be domestic violence victims apply for asylum. The BIA decision will have a two-fold effect. First, it represents another incentive for more illegal immigration. Even hearsay claims could be considered valid. Well coached illegal immigrants know to say the magic word that will win the judges’ approval—“credible fear” of persecution. Second, the thousands of Guatemalan women who arrived during the summer surge will be able to argue that they were subject to spousal abuse and will therefore gain permanent residency. Asylum petitions tripled between 2012 and 2013. Since 2009 when Obama took office, successful asylum applications increased ten-fold.
Fraud opportunity is huge. Granting asylum is often based on flimsy evidence. The applicant has no burden of proof requirement. Police and hospital records are unavailable. Foreign governments don’t submit letters explaining why they refuse to defend their women citizens from spousal abuse.
Immigration judges admit that fraud may be rampant. The National Association of Immigration Judges’ president Dana Leigh Marks said that “without traditional documents,” the court hears only “one vantage point.” Too often, Marks concluded, “good liars” can beat the system.
The United Nations’ World Health Organization estimates that outside the U.S. hundreds of millions of women suffer some form of violence; 35 percent of women across the globe have been victimized.
As much as the U.S might like to provide safe haven to every abused woman, it’s not possible. The permanent solution to overseas domestic violence isn’t asylum in the U.S. but vigorously enforced laws in the worldwide community to protect at risk and battered women.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been nationally syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected]