Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Asylum in the US for Burmese facing deportation

Readers of this blog who are unfamiliar with the goings on in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore, may think reading the comments that there are many who think Singapore is a democracy based on the rule of law. The reader is warned that they may be Singapore government employees whose job is to discredit those who criticize Lee Kuan Yew's authoritarian rule. Please use your discretion as to how much weight you will give these comments.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Here is a urgent short post, for the attention of Burmese in Singapore facing on going and imminent deportation to Burma because they took part in Burmese pro democracy protests in Singapore. Burmese are presently being deported from Singapore with their work passes not being renewed They face life in prison and torture when returned. The Lee Kuan Yew government, a close ally of the junta is collaborating with them in this shameful exercise. Please see the article More Burmese facing expulsion from Singapore of December 30th in the Singapore Democratic Party website.

If you can somehow enter the United States, you will be given asylum. Asylum is granted to those who are being persecuted by a government for among other things, their political beliefs. Persecution can be in the form of, among other things, infliction of punishment by one form or another. It can also be a case where the victim is facing imminent harm, life imprisonment, as in this case.

It does not matter how you get to the US. Even if you enter through fraudulent documents, or other means of illegal entry, you are still eligible for a grant of asylum. The illegal entry is excused. All that you have to accomplish is to board an aircraft bound for the US. Once you arrive at a US port of entry, articulate your fear of persecution, to an Immigration Officer, if you were to be returned. This will entitle you to a hearing before an Asylum officer.

For instance, if you manage to get hold of a Singapore passport, which does not require a visa to enter the US, this may help you board an aircraft. Of course there is the danger of your being apprehended at Singapore airport. The better alternative is to board a flight with a Singapore passport, from an airport outside Singapore. All this of course involves great risk, but this is a choice you would have to make, in these unthinkable circumstances.

Then there are of course, those who may be able to arrange a passage to Mexico, perhaps with a visa from some other country, say Manila, Philippines, or to a Central American country such as Nicaragua. From there, your agent might be able to arrange a passage to the border to help you cross. I am sure there are Burmese in the diaspora who know these things better than I do, to help you to save your lives. My knowledge of these things comes from my having represented asylum clients from many countries.

One possible way is for you to get work on board a cruise ship that stops at a port in the US, say Miami, eg Carnival Cruises on the Caribbean run. This will enable you to get a C1/D crew visa. This will allow you to land in the US, and once this is accomplished, you can apply for asylum. Please note that with this visa category, your only means of remaining in the US is through asylum. You cannot for instance marry an American to get a Green Card or do it by other means. I understand there are agents of these shipping companies in Burma and elsewhere who hire Burmese ship's crew.

Personally I do not know any alien smuggling operations and even if I knew, it would be unethical for me to be directly involved in it. From an ethical standpoint I am however able to tell you what I know.

The United States, unlike Singapore, honors its obligations under the treaties and conventions of the United Nations to protect refugees. They take this obligation seriously.

If you do land in American soil and need my help, don't hesitate to contact me. I will help you. Take care of yourselves and good luck.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914
Email: nair.gopalan@yahoo.com
Blog: http://singaporedissident.blogspot.com/

Your letters are welcome. We reserve the right to publish your letters. Please Email your letters to nair.gopalan@yahoo.com And if you like what I write, please tell your friends. You will be helping democracy by distributing this widely. This blog not only gives information, it dispels government propaganda put out by this dictatorial regime.


Anonymous said...

Ladies and Gentlemen of Burmese in Singapore facing deportation,

Please read this before Attorney Nair weaves an easy mirage of asylum acceptance in USA. There is a large percentage of asylum denials and you may languish in jail guarded by burley gun-toting prison guards.

Human Rights First website examples:

1. Wide Disparities in Asylum Denials in Immigration Court

Immigration judges deny asylum applications at widely disparate rates, according to a new report issued by Syracuse University’s Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). Most judges denied about 65% of asylum requests, but about ten percent of the judges denied asylum in 86% of cases, while another ten percent denied asylum in 34% of cases.

2. Human Rights First Urges UN and IACHR to Review US Jailing of Asylum Seekers

Human Rights First has submitted briefing papers to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants outlining some of the ways in which U.S. detention of asylum seekers is arbitrary under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

As detailed in the paper, asylum seekers are held in prisons and immigration jails, the decision to detain them is not reviewed by an independent court, and the immigration agency’s release processes vary widely across the country. Some refugees are jailed in these facilities for months or years.

Human Rights First has urged the U.N. Working Group to visit the United States to review the situation, but the United States must first extend an official invitation to the Working Group. On January 31, 2007, Human Rights First and 50 other organizations wrote to the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security to urge them to extend that invitation to the working group.

Human Rights First also urged the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to issue an advisory opinion on the arbitrary nature of U.S. detention policies for asylum seekers, and to visit detention centers where asylum seekers and immigrants are detained. In an October 24, 2007 submission, Human Rights First explained that U.S. detention of asylum seekers is inconsistent with Article 7 of the American Convention on Human Rights prohibiting arbitrary dete

Anonymous said...

For now not only do you see through a glass darkly, Kumar's bogus Attorney, you are adept at presenting it half full. Let's look at the other hand, shall we?

1. Wide Disparities in Asylum Approvals in Immigration Court

Immigration judges approve asylum applications at widely disparate rates, according to a new report issued by Syracuse University’s Transaction Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). Most judges approved about 35% of asylum requests, but about ten percent of the judges approved asylum in 14% of cases, while another ten percent approved asylum in 66% of cases.

There, doesn't sound quite so hopeless, does it? In 2007, 50,700 people applied for asylum in the United States; 25,270 were granted protection. Not bad odds, I would suggest.

2. Human Rights First Urges UN and IACHR to Review US Jailing of Asylum Seekers

This is a HRF position paper which highlights the flaws in the US Asylum process and recommends the changes they see as necessary to correct poor practices. The US is far from alone in failing to adhere to the ideal standard and the UK and EU have their problems too. What is important is that because of its identity as a nation of immigrants and its leadership role in crafting international rules for refugee protection, U.S. treatment of refugees sets the global standard.

The hapless Burmese may well be guarded by "burly gun-toting prison guards" but that would be laughably trivial compared to the terrifying fate that awaits them when Singapore deports them back into the blood-soaked arms of the Burmese junta — they're marked men and can expect little mercy. Does that prospect please you?

But this is all a distraction from the real crux of the matter, isn't it, Mr. Attorney? Maybe you'd care to explain why the Republic of Singapore, signatory to the Geneva Convention on 27.04.1973 with NO reservations, is sending people under threat of persecution and death back to a regime that does not shrink from murdering unarmed peaceful monks, if you care to recall the events of last year?

Anonymous said...

To The Kumar's Attorney,

Your information is interesting, however, was it simply your assumption that all who are denied asylum will be jailed? I will be most interested to see any statistics you can provide on this, if any at all.

I see that it is be more probable that those denied will simply be deported, while very few maybe charged for illegal entry at worst. In no way any of them will be facing life imprisonment or death compared to what they will definitely get if they go back to Burma. In any case, if I am not mistaken, even after an application is denied, one can still make an appeal for it to be reconsider.

Gopalan, will you elaborate on this if you have the time?

To Burmese and anyone seeking asylum,
Consider these 2 choices:

1) 0% chance of freedom and 100% possibility of death or life imprisonment by going back to Burma.

2) 35% chance of getting asylum and 65% chance of possibly being denied. (according to Kumar's Attorney, but well, is that a fact?)

I think it is a no-brainer which one a sane person in this situation will choose.

Anonymous said...

instead of going to US? why not they go to the US embassy and asked for help!!!!??!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Nair,

Again you do a great service in the name of human rights to our Myanmar brethren.

It is good that you are able to provide the necessary legal services for those who successfully make the trip to the US.

Please let your your Myanmar readers and their allies know that Canada is also another asylum possibility for them.

Should there be responses from any of them to the Canadian offer, please state so in your blog. I will email you with information and services to seeking assylum in Canada.

Anonymous said...

On further thought,Mr Nair, because the Burmese nationals are not in their own country, I believe that they are entitled to seek political asylum at the Canadian High Commission in Singapore.

Anonymous said...

To 'Kumar's Attorney':

How does what you wrote negate anything written in this blog entry by Mr Nair?

Where did he even hint that seeking asylum was a breeze?

If you don't even understand that the point he was making is for the Burmese to take a chance at the American system, then you should leave the Singapore government's employ right away. As a taxpayer, I am unwilling for my taxes to go towards paying for your stupidity.

You are the same person, aren't you, who has been making unwarranted attacks against an alleged lack of democracy in the US?

You clearly cannot distinguish between SYSTEMIC abuse by the state such as it is instituted in Singapore, and the occasional isolated lapses in the American system. For which there is recourse, incidentally.

If what you have been trying to demonstrate here is that you MICA employees are employed on the basis of your inexhaustible supply of spite and venom, let me tell you that you have made your point abundantly clear.

Gopalan Nair said...

Although technically it is possible to apply for refugee status at a US post overseas, in practice it is more difficult than getting asylum while within the US. I am unable to advice on this regarding Canadian or other country's consular posts overseas; but my thinking is that the practice will be the same.

Please note that for asylum, it has to be established that the particular individual has either suffered or is imminent danger of suffering harm. So the applicant will have to show that they personally can show this.

In other words, the entire Burmese population will not qualify. Only those who have personally encountered this, or are likely so to encounter.

Good luck

Anonymous said...

Thank you phoney attorney acting for Kumar for proving my point: you VERY CLEARLY CANNOT distinguish between SYSTEMIC ABUSE under which 100% of people (with a certain profile deemed undesirable to thuggocracies like Singapore) and who act in a manner that they have arbirtariliy criminalzed WILL HAVE THEIR RIGHTS ABUSED.

That's a gurantee.

Or have you not seen what happens to Chee Soon Juan and all who have a similar profile and act like him 100% of the time?

And who are you calling dumb again?

The most likely reason that refugee claims are denied is because of insufficient evidence of likely and/or imminent: no country wants its system open to abuse and the US is exactly the same.

Or couldn't you figure that out yourself?

And while you are rampaging around alleging a gross lack of democracy in the US, does Singapore even entertain a noble idea like political asylum?

Why don't get down to comparing only apples to apples?

Or do you know the truth that "Singapore" and "political asylum" are contradictions in terms?

I can speak to the Canadian experience: to get political asylum there, it helps when a country's human rights record is well documented. The Burmese are already in that position, and it is possibly why Mr Nair was confident for them.

Over and above that, some documentation of how an individual's safety is under threat would boost the case; the news articles already published would be that evidence.

And you can give up the pretense of a heart that bleeds for the Burmese involved in this case because the mean spiritedness evident in your posts betrays your true feelings that we can outdo the PAP's own mean spiritedness by offering a possibility of reprieve to the Burmese affected.

Anonymous said...

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