Avsløringen av at Sofitel-stuepiken løy om sin bakgrunn i Guinea for å komme inn i USA, retter søkelyset mot bruken av falske historier for å få asyl.

Å avgjøre hvem som snakker sant er en av myndighetenes vanskeligste oppgaver. At det lyves er hevet over enhver tvil.

A shadowy industry dedicated to asylum fraud thrives in New York, where many of the country’s asylum claims are filed. Immigrants peddle personal accounts ripped from international headlines, con artists prey on the newly arrived and nonlawyers offer misguided advice.
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The embellished stories go in and out of fashion along with the news of the day, reflecting turmoil in nations around the globe, lawyers say.

West Africans claim genital mutilation or harm from the latest political violence. Albanians and immigrants from other Balkan countries claim they fear ethnic cleansing. Chinese invoke the one-child policy or persecution of Christians, Venezuelans cite their opposition to the ruling party, and Russians describe attacks against gay people. Iraqis and Afghans can cite fear of retaliation by Islamic extremists.

Of course, thousands of those claims are legitimate. But each cataclysm provides convenient cover stories for immigrants desperate to settle here for other reasons, forcing authorities to make high-stakes decisions based on the “demeanor, candor or responsiveness” of the applicant. “When there’s a problem anywhere, a horrible slaughter in Somalia, wherever, the first couple of years of those cases are very real,” said Andrew Johnson, an immigration lawyer in Manhattan. “Then the next four or five years, they just mimic those stories.”

Det er vokst frem et helt apparat av mennesker i de ulike etniske miljøene som har gjort «assistanse» til en levevei. Ofte er det ikke «klienten», men seg selv de først og frem vil hjelpe – økonomisk.

“Often, the applicant is misled by various actors with a story that is much more compelling,” said Claudia Slovinksy, a longtime immigration lawyer. “Weren’t they soldiers? Wasn’t it a gang rape?”

Whether here legally or illegally, immigrants can apply for asylum within one year of arriving. To qualify, they must show a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group — which could cover gays or abused women.

Immigration courts across the country granted 51 percent of asylum claims last year, government statistics show. Such courts in New York City, which heard more cases than in any other city, approved 76 percent, among the highest rate in the nation.

I Norge har mediene fokusert på Landinfo, UDIs kartleggingsarm, når de har vært for strenge, feks. overfor kristne fra Iran, eller dårlig informert, feks. om områder av Somalia eller Afghanistan.

Men sjelden har norske medier tatt for seg de mest sirkulerte historiene, som opplagt også fortelles til norske myndigheter.

At systemet ikke fungerer ser man blant annet av alle hutuene fra Rwanda som lever som asylanter i Europa og USA, men i virkeligheten deltok i folkemordet på tutsiene.

Immigrants May Be Fed False Stories to Bolster Asylum Pleas