News & Politics

Crosspost: Apparently the right wing does like asylum—but only for white people

Lindsay Schubiner • Apr 10, 2015

Over at ThinkProgress today, Esther Yu-Hsi Lee writes about a bill Republicans in Congress are advancing, which would grant asylum to families who want to home school their children-while simultaneously weakening asylum protections for children fleeing real violence in their home countries.

This sickening double standard should remind us that the white nationalist ideology driving the anti-immigrant movement is still alive and well.

Lee writes:

“The bill’s provision would grant asylum for up to 500 individuals “fleeing home school persecution” in countries where home schooling is illegal. The bill explicitly refers to home schooling as a “particular social group” and indicates that a person is eligible for asylum if he or she is “deemed to have been persecuted for failure or refusal to comply with any law or regulation that prevents the exercise of the individual right of that person to direct the upbringing and education of a child of that person.” The House Judiciary Committee approved the bill 21-12 last month.”

If it wasn’t already abundantly clear, the right wing’s well-documented problem with asylum isn’t the process itself—it’s with who is using it. Anti-immigrant lawmakers are just fine with protecting families from persecution (or, in this case, laws parents don’t want to follow) if those families are likely to be European and white. If they’re people of color from the Global South fleeing death threats, rape, or other forms of violence, however, it’s a very different story.

This sickening double standard should remind us that the white nationalist ideology driving the anti-immigrant movement is still alive and well. John Tanton, the movement’s founder, certainly made his goals very clear, saying, “I have come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority and a clear one at that.”

Luckily, the contradiction is not lost on fellow lawmakers. As Lee writes:

“The provision has drawn ire from lawmakers who accuse Republicans of putting homeschoolers ahead of others seeking asylum under more dire circumstances. The bill also includes a number of provisions to limit asylum claims generally, including prohibiting unaccompanied alien children (UAC), like the ones who crossed the southern U.S. border last year, from applying for asylum if “such child may be removed to a safe third country;” increasing the number of full-time immigration judges and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lawyers; and raising the standards for children to prove that they would be threatened if they were deported.”

Read the full article here.

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