US Responsible for Asylum Claims Decrease

The UN issued some good news yesterday, for a change. The organization’s figures indicate a record low in asylum seekers last year — the lowest since 1988. France also replaced the US as the top destination for asylum seekers in 2004.

Now, it may amaze some of you to learn the UN’s explanation for this record low. UN officials believe much of the decrease is due to improved conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Imagine that! In fact, the organization’s numbers indicate that over the past three years, since the US overthrew the Taliban regime in 2001, the number of Afghans requesting asylum has dropped by 83%. In 2001 there were 50,000 Afghans searching for a new home. That number decreased to 8,800 in 2004.

“When Afghans saw things improving at home, they started going home in big numbers instead of traveling to Europe and beyond.” — Raymond Hall, Director of UNHCR’s (UN High Commission for Refugees) Europe Bureau.

The Iraqi exodus also decreased dramatically. Since Saddam’s regime fell in 2002, the number of Iraqis seeking asylum fell 80% to 9,984.

Is it possible that the UN finally admits our actions to free Iraq may have been a good thing? They did, after all, embrace the Iraq election. Of course, that was only after the election far exceeded the UN’s expectations. I guess we will just have to take what little respect and appreciation we can get.

Of course, the UN ruined the “good news” by asking all industrialized countries to relax their asylum procedures. Their logic is that, with the dramatic decrease, more leniencies should be afforded to those requesting harbor. While a nice idea, they apparently forgot we have terrorists trying to infiltrate our country in order to wreak havoc on our population. It may be prudent for us to maintain stringent requirements when granting such requests.

It seems like more people want to stay in their own countries – and, that’s a good thing. Speaking for myself, France should feel free to usurp the US as the top destination for asylum seekers as often as it likes. It just means less paperwork for us.

UNHCR Report



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