Asylum I-589 Application: Fraud, Lies, Memory Loss and Survival
In Immigration Court, certain judges grill asylum applicants for minor inconsistencies on their asylum application. Why did you not include the address where you hid for one night in the “Residences” section of your application? Why did you not include the name of your out-of-wedlock child on your application? Why did you? Why didn’t you? Why did you? Why didn’t you? Why? At best, the judge will accept the applicant’s meek I don’t know’s as the honest truth. Given scars on the applicant’ body and well-known country information about torture and murders of people like the applicant, the judge will grant the case anyway.
Credibility on Asylum Applications and Immigration Judges
Or not. Regrettably, I have seen judges use a minor contradiction as a reason to sign a deportation order. “Why does your tax return from nine years ago say you are not married when you were?,” Judge Mahlon F. Hanson once asked. The elderly woman on the stand replied that the preparer did her taxes. “Is that your signature?” Yes. “Then you lied to the federal government. You do not have good moral character. I am denying your case based on my discretion.”
Judge Hanson retired. I did not attend his retirement party. Then, he joined the Board of Directors of the Immigration Reform Law Institute. That group drafts anti-immigrant legislation and sues cities and states that welcome immigrants. On December 29, 2022, Judge Hanson passed away. I did not attend his funeral.
Credibility and the I-589 Asylum Application
I was celebrating that day. December 29th is my mother’s birthday. Because she came from Cuba on the Freedom Flight in July 1967, she never faced an immigration judge. To the contrary, the U.S. government sponsored her plane trip from Cuba and gave her an automatic green card. Facing an immigration judge, my mother might have been deported. When requesting permission to come to the United States, she put the address of her parents-in-law as her home address. An uncle living in the United States sponsored my paternal grandparents, and they could leave with anyone living in their home. Including my parents, who at the time were not actually living in the home of my parental grandparents.
In Miami, I realized that Cuban Americans do not allow misinformation among today’s immigrants but forgave it so easily among their countrymen. The difference is not that Cuba was a hellhole of communism and today’s immigrants are fleeing poverty. Cuban immigrants today are also fleeing poverty, I would say more than they are fleeing communism. Moreover, Nicaraguans are fleeing communism but Cuban Americans do NOT support a program for Nicaraguans to get automatic green cards. The world is full of contradictions, values claimed and then ignored, promises whispered and then broken. Only by accepting this can we find peace.
Disclaimer – These entries are based on real life events. Family member names, when used, are real. Client names are changed for privacy.