Reform the American Asylum Process

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The United States government should reform the American asylum process. In the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, the right to seek asylum is stated as a human right, deserved by all people. Article 14 of this document states, “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.” Since 2011, eleven-million refugees from Syria have fled violent abuse on the basis of religion. In order to impose their extremist Sharia law onto their fellow Muslims, ISIS brutally murders innocent civilians. The United States has a duty to protect these refugees as they flee persecution and war, as they are not criminals or enemies of the United States. In 2016, 54% of registered American voters interviewed agreed with the statement that the United States has no responsibility to accept Syrian refugees. Comparing that statistic to the percentage of Americans (67.4%),who thought that Jewish refugees and political enemies of the Nazi party should be kept out of the United States in 1938, the similarity is clear. The American public was wrong then, and have reacted the same way in other points in American history. During the Vietnamese refugee crisis, anti-war sentiments caused people to blame refugees for the war they were running from. In both the instance of the Irish Potato Famine (Catholics), and WW2 (Jews) refugees experienced religious discrimination in The United States. Similar prejudices connected with the race and religion of refugees repeat themselves. Syrian refugees deserve a safe home, free of the unfair biases the American public may hold. The process for applying for asylum is extremely flawed; in some instances it can take up to six years. In 2016, the system was so backed up that there were 260,000 pending asylum applications. During this waiting period, people are not technically citizens, and it is hard to assimilate to a new country. As a country that stands for human rights, the United States must accept more refugees, have a more effective asylum service, and help this vulnerable group find safety and prosperity in our country. The American dream of a new life through hard work should be available to everyone, regardless of religion or race. The human right to asylum is currently being denied to innocent people simply because of a flawed bureaucratic system and an unconcerned public. Immigration reform needs to happen right now, for the sake of innocent refugees and for the integrity of our nation’s human rights beliefs.

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