The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new
policy toward asylum-seekers will do little to increase safety for
Americans and it targets vulnerable people, many of whom are fleeing
persecution, said Ralston H. Deffenbaugh in a March 20 letter to Thomas
Ridge, DHS head. The policy will detain asylum-seekers from 33 nations
where al Qaeda is known to have operated.
Deffenbaugh, president of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Baltimore, acknowledged the need for national security but said: “Asylum-seekers often come to the U.S. to escape torture, rape and extreme persecution in their home countries. This new policy targets people who are themselves the victims of tyrants like Saddam Hussein, including courageous individuals who have fought political oppression in countries supporting terrorism. They are seeking safe haven and should not be singled out for detention based solely on their national origin.”
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