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When Treason Lobby Poster Children Go Bad…Nothing Changes
Great care goes into finding just the right poster child for a story supporting one or another of the immigration lobby's causes. I have sat in on Forum conference sessions where a new immigrant personality was vetted by the conferees only to be dropped before going to the media with the story. Apparently, something in the "bio" turned out to be off-message.
Selection of images for use in a war fought with images is very serious business.
What happens when a poster child goes bad?
"Adelaide Abankwah," was a cause célèbre in the late nineties for female genital mutilation [FGM] asylum. Initially denied asylum in immigration court, her story was fed to the media and Hollywood. Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Julia Roberts, Vanessa Redgrave and others jumped on board the "free Adelaide" campaign. Sen. Charles Schumer visited "Adelaide" in detention and promptly demanded that asylum be given to the illegal alien.
As reported in The Washington Post:
"Hilary Rodham Clinton 'was very helpful in ensuring that INS was aware of the case at the highest level' said Jessica Neuwirth, President of Equality Now. A spokeswoman for Clinton said recently that 'the first lady followed the case very closely' at the time and passed information on it to the National Security Council…. The INS district office in New York was told that 'the White House wants you to release her, so they released her', one agency insider said." [Asylum Seeker Is Impostor | INS Says Woman's Plea Had Powerful Support, By William Branigin and Douglas Farah Washington Post, December 20, 2000]
After "Adelaide" received asylum in the U.S. Court of appeals for the Second Circuit, the INS completed its exhaustive investigation of "Adelaide's" case.
It found that she was an imposter who stole the identity of another illegal alien.
Her claim to be fleeing FGM at home in Ghana was conclusively shown to be fraudulent—like the majority of "asylum" seekers' claims.
But Regina Danson ("Adelaide") is in America for good. Her story was dropped by the MSM and the story's actual ending has had no ill effects on her former supporters or their cause for expanded asylum opportunities.
Another much-publicized poster child, effectively used to end the enforcement of immigration law regarding "unaccompanied minors":
He eventually received asylum and was called to testify before Congress about mistreatment while in federal custody. He called the youth detention center where he stayed "the worst place I have ever been in life."
Partly as a result of his testimony, certain "unaccompanied minors"—a new immigrant classification that brings extraordinary immigration privileges—are no longer the responsibility of immigration authorities. Instead they are handed over to a federal welfare agency, the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).
Munoz' testimony riveted the MSM for a while. His freedom-seeking-orphan-thrown-in-jail-by-the-INS story appeared in the LA Times, Boston Globe and San Diego Union-Tribune, and even made the cover of Parade Magazine.
Unfortunately, no one testified before Congress about his apparent lying and violent and aggressive behavior, which had caused the INS to oppose an asylum grant and which had caused the government to transfer the youth to a secure detention facility until the matter could be settled.
Munoz was granted asylum and went into the U.S. foster care system at taxpayer expense in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The story barely got beyond the local newspaper.
Nevertheless, and incredibly, four days before Christmas 2005 the Senate approved legislation sponsored by Senators Feinstein (D-Cal) and Brownback (R-Kan) to further liberalize the immigration of "unaccompanied minors."
Senator Feinstein, who was responsible for stripping immigration authority from DHS for unaccompanied minors, concedes "It was a very hard battle to get this approved by the Senate and we still have a tough battle in the House."
Would the Senate have even considered the bill if Edwin Munoz had been on the front page of Parade magazine after the latest turn of events?
The Senate bill revamps the rarely used Special Immigrant Juvenile Visa program "to make it a useful and flexible means of providing permanent protection for deserving unaccompanied alien children who are deemed a dependant of the State by the courts due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment."
The average beneficiary of the bill: a Central American minor joining family members already illegally in the U.S..
But the Treason Lobby has grander visions for this bill.
The Feinstein/Brownback bill is an expression of the assumption that the American nanny state can redress the wrongs endured by anyone from anywhere in the world who manages by any means to cross the border.
In addition to expanded asylum opportunities for youth who manage to get across the border—lured, aided and abetted by the welfare state and human traffickers—the U.S. offers a separate, parallel program for Unaccompanied Refugee Minors. These are minors selected by the UNHCR and U.S. refugee contractors for resettlement to the U.S. from around the globe.
At a recent government conference about how ORR can "provide a safe haven for unaccompanied refugee children in the United States," Dr. Julianne Duncan of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Migration and Refugee Services spoke of
"immigration courts granting asylum to 'street children' who having lived alone, homeless in their country … flee to the U.S. in an attempt to escape gangs, chemical dependency, governmental mistreatment and starvation… the 'street kids' have very little education and often suffer from mental illness… and the challenge is to place these minors in good secure homes where they can receive mental health and substance abuse treatment."
According to a 2004 ORR report, the U.S. is considering resettling "orphans" from "Liberia who are currently residing in Guinea" and "a number of Sudanese girls from Kenya that the UNHCR deems vulnerable and in need of resettlement. And in Thailand, there are Burmese refugee children that will primarily be resettled [in the U.S.] with the surrogate families in which they currently reside." (Emphasis added.)
Instead, the MSM continues its stream of cheery formulaic human interest stories.
And If a story goes bad there is a simple remedy—now you see them, now you don't.
Thomas Allen (email him) is a recovering refugee worker.