Experts: Migrant Mother from ‘Crying Girl’ Audio Had No Case for Asylum

AP File Photo/Eric Gay

The crying girl featured in an audio-recording touted by pro-migrant groups was brought to the United States by her mother to escape the poverty of her quiet El Salvador town, according to a Washington Post report.

The Post‘s report shows the migrant mother was not fleeing threats and had no grounds for claiming asylum, but was simply following the route taken by her two older sisters who had successfully walked though the weak U.S. border to settle in Houston, Texas.

“The standard of living in is higher in the United States for the vast majority in the world, and if poverty becomes the basis for allowing people to immigrate, we will have all the problems of the world in the United States because the numbers who would come here would be infinite,” said Art Arthur, a former immigration judge who works with the Center for Immigration Studies. He continued:

When enforcing border laws, we are not looking down on the migrants and we are not stigmatizing them. We are enforcing our laws that are intended to protect the wages of American citizens, including aliens who are here lawfully … [and including] the most disadvantaged of Americans who have not had the educational opportunities or the work advantages that more wealthy Americans have had.

Media outlets broadcast the audio nationwide after it was posted June 19 by ProPublica progressive media outlet. The audio was played in public by members of Congress and even by a reporter in the White House newsroom, seeking to share their empathy with like-minded advocates and to shame the opponents of easy migration. The broadcasts highlighted the crying girl who was asking for her aunt in Houston.

The audio was recorded at a border-processing center where migrants were collected and then sent to detention centers for prosecution and their children were to child shelters pending the parents’ court cases. The Washington Post‘s June 19 headline about the audio said:

‘Gut-wrenching’ recording captures sounds of crying children separated from parents at the border

The audio revealed the child’s expectation that she would be released quickly by border officials to her aunt in Houston under the routine “catch and release” rules:

One child on the recording, identified by ProPublica as a 6-year-old from El Salvador, asks for help calling her aunt, whose number she has memorized.

“My mommy says I’ll go with my aunt and that she’ll come to pick me up there as quickly as possible,” the girl says.

But the ‘crying girl’ audio turned out to be another example of a foreign parent exploiting lax U.S. border laws — and of the elite’s self-serving sympathy for poor foreigners.

According to the June 21 Washington Post report from El Salvador:

The girl, Allison Ximena Valencia Madrid, who goes by Ximena, was traveling toward Houston with her mother, Cindy Madrid, on a path well worn by this family. Cindy was the last of Henríquez’s three daughters to migrate in the past dozen years, a decision that many here consider the only viable way to avoid poverty and gangs. Two sisters had made it; earlier this month, Cindy and Ximena got caught.

“We’ve never had any problem until this law that Mr. Trump made,” said Henríquez,

The family is poor, but the Post provides no evidence the grandmother and her children were destitute,  or were threatened by the state or criminal gangs.

The Post provides no evidence the family meets any of the requirements for getting asylum, which requires evidence of persecution “on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

The Post reports:

Her home faces a baseball field. When Cindy still lived here, she and Henríquez sold smoothies and soda to the fans, enough for pocket money. On two occasions, Henríquez said, Cindy had been robbed by gang members who boarded her bus and shook down the passengers. With Ximena starting school, her mother wanted more for her.

“Living in this danger, she decided to leave, just to help her daughter,” Henríquez said.

Ximena used to sleep in a second-floor bedroom she shared with her mother, under a row of plastic Disney princesses, on a pillowcase from the movie Frozen — more gifts from the United States. She loves animals, enjoys the beach, and was a happy, energetic girl, her relatives say.

Arthur, the former immigration judge, noted:

If the only evidence [for asylum] is that she got robbed on a bus with bunch of other people, she doesn’t have a fear of persecution, she has a fear of crime. It is understandable, but it is not enough to make her eligible for asylum under under the law … entering the United States illegally and claiming a vague fear of harm is not a cognizable asylum claim.

“One would have to have a heart of stone not to be affected, but in fairness, one has to look objectively at the facts of the case,” said Dan Cadman, a retired immigration officer. He added:

I don’t see any viable legal basis on which the mother Cindy or daughter Ximena could claim asylum. Being robbed on a bus isn’t sufficient — that could (and daily, does) happen on the public bus and metro systems in any number of U.S. cities. Poverty doesn’t suffice either — and in any case, my superficial assessment is that the house where they were living (and grandma still lives) isn’t bad looking in Salvadoran terms.

The women should instead use legal avenues to get into the United States, which may include chain-migration via the two sisters in Houston, Arthur said.

It is understandable that people want to come to the United States for a better life, but they need to come legally, to follow the law.  They need to apply through legal channels.

The migrants got in trouble because President Donald Trump has begun enforcing existing laws, Cadman said:

We as a nation are confronting a difficult binary choice here. On one hand is the heart-rending temporary separation of children and parents as a result of the prosecution of adults for illegal entry. But the other option is much more deeply troubling: not instituting effective deterrent measures, with the result that we as a nation will continue being complicit in the active use of children as pawns in a giant smuggling and trafficking enterprise that has led to a more than 500% increase in many Border Patrol Sectors of interdicted minors crossing illegally into the U.S. (sometimes with family, sometimes only in the hands of their smugglers).

To my way of thinking, the latter is much more troubling by far — and that will be the consequence of returning to the old ways of catch-and-release, and unification and resettlement at any cost, because it requires allowing our asylum system to be both overwhelmed and discredited with bogus claims that will perpetually clog the immigration courts for decades to come, meaning in the end that no one is ever, in fact, removed.

Aliens are rational beings: when they understand this ineffectual system for what it is, why would they not make the trek?  The tragedy is in the children that they bring in tow with them, hoping that those kids will one day be the recipients of an amnesty on which the parents in turn will ultimately be able to piggyback.

Americans are already helping non-migrating people in El Salvador, Arthur added. Via free trade and normal country-to-country relations, “the United States does a good deal to support the economy in El Salvador and the rule of law in El Salvador,” he said.

Also, mass migration to the United States drains the educated people, entrepreneurs and growth from El Salvador, Arthur added.  “When you draw out generations of individuals from a country, you’re not helping it, you are impoverishing it.”

Migration Economics

Currently, four million Americans turn 18 each year and begin looking for good jobs in the free market — but the government provides green cards to roughly 1 million legal immigrants and temporary work-permits to roughly 3 million foreign workers.

The Washington-imposed economic policy of economic growth via mass-immigration shifts wealth from young people towards older people by flooding the market with foreign labor. That process spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. The policy also drives up real estate priceswidens wealth-gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts kids’ schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families, including many who are now struggling with opioid addictions.


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