Thursday, July 16, 2009

So I was mindlessly perusing my Facebook page when I came across a link on a friend's page to an article from THE NEW YORK TIMES. It peaked my interest because it said "U.S. Opens Path to Asylum for Victims of Sexual Abuse -" This friend happens to be of a liberal bent, and it was from the Times, but I care about asylum for victims of sexual abuse, so I clicked the link and read the article.

It was obvious from the get-go that this article followed the expected and accepted narrative of every article in every mainstream media outlet since Obama has been elected, nay, since Obama became the presumptive candidate of choice of the mainstream left. The narrative being: Obama administration, good; Bush administration, bad; Clinton administration, meh. No matter what the facts are. I repeat, no matter what the facts in the actual "article" are, the narrative must be followed.

Let's discuss the facts at hand, shall we? The opening paragraph sets the stage rather well, I think:

"The Obama administration has opened the way for foreign women who are victims of severe domestic beatings and sexual abuse to receive asylum in the United States. The action reverses a Bush administration stance in a protracted and passionate legal battle over the possibilities for battered women to become refugees."

One could take from this paragraph that the facts are these: the Bush administration, aka George Bush personally, is against asylum for abused women and he did everything in his power as an evil white man of privilege to assure foreign women deserving of asylum were denied such, even going so far as to kick them in the head and laugh at them as they were delivered back to their attackers to be abused some more. Dear Leader Obama, on the other hand, in stark contrast, has personally saved countless abused women from all over planet Earth; women who, on occasion, did not even know they were being abused until he informed them.

2nd paragraph: "In addition to meeting other strict conditions for asylum, abused women will need to show that they are treated by their abuser as subordinates and little better than property, according to an immigration court filing by the administration, and that domestic abuse is widely tolerated in their country. They must show that they could not find protection from institutions at home or by moving to another place within their own country." This literally applies to all women in Saudi Arabia, as well as several other middle eastern countries. These countries don't try to hide, or feel bad about, the way women are treated. Did Obama tell the Saudi Prince about this policy while he was visiting him, I wonder?

The article then goes on to cite a case of a woman from Mexico who was seeking asylum from her abusive husband. This is the case that is setting the precedent of how the current administration will handle "abused woman" asylum cases, apparently. Here's where they start to lose me, because the woman, whether truly abused or not, is in a country where she has many options to deal with her abuse. If she has the wherewith all to get a lawyer and seek asylum in her neighbor to the north, she could most likely prosecute her husband in Mexico; or seek a divorce or some other form of justice. She is not in Africa or the Middle East where she would have no other recourse than to seek asylum in America.

Then comes this gem of a paragraph: "Moving cautiously, the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately recommend asylum for the Mexican woman, who is identified in the court papers only by her initials as L.R. But the department, in the unusual submission written by senior government lawyers, concluded in plain terms that “it is possible” that the Mexican woman “and other applicants who have experienced domestic violence could qualify for asylum.”

Wow! Such a bold move by the Obama administration! After all, that's what the article is about, right? How fantastic it is that abused women can now seek asylum in the US? Oh, wait, what? "It is possible....that they could qualify for asylum." Halelujah! Praise baby Obama Jesus!

Next, we are informed that " As recently as last year, Bush administration lawyers had argued in the same case that in spite of her husband’s brutality, L.R. and other battered women could not meet the standards of American asylum law." It would appear that she didn't meat the standard of abuse for asylum...and it's still not clear whether she meets the standard for asylum under Obama! Didn't they just say "the DHS did not immediately recommend asylum for the woman?"

Then the article has the nerve to say that "The Obama administration’s position caps a legal odyssey for foreign women seeking protection in the United States..." I'm sorry? The Obama administration position? You'll have to explain this one to me. The official policy doesn't seem to have changed. The woman hasn't received asylum. Nothing has changed, and yet we're supposed to give the Obama administration credit for what? Wanting to give her asylum? Disagreeing with Bush "on principal?" And how does any of this "cap a legal odyssey??" Are abused woman now freely granted asylum in the US thanks to Obama? It doesn't appear so.

"During the Clinton administration, Attorney General Janet Reno proposed regulations to clarify the matter, but they have never gone into effect." As expected, in deference to Secretary of State Clinton, any reference to the Clinton administration is muted.

Finally, we get to a few facts, which are luckily hard to distort and politicize: "“Although each case is highly fact-dependent and requires scrutiny of the specific threat an applicant faces,” said Matt Chandler, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, “the department continues to view domestic violence as a possible basis for asylum in the United States.” He said officials hoped to complete regulations governing the complex cases." The fact is, this is a complex issue that should require a case by case review.

The next sentence, set apart on it's own in a symbolic island being stated simply yet blindly ignored, is the following:

"The new policy does not involve women fleeing genital mutilation."

And here is where I lose my shit. If there is a case where asylum is justified more clearly and obviously, I would like to know. The entire article becomes nothing more than a sham, a less than newsworthy fluff piece making something out of nothing. And it couldn't be more obvious. And it couldn't be more pathetic. There is real news to be reported, and the author, a woman no less, chooses to create a piece of Obama mythology and give him credit for a deed not even done.

The article then fizzles out with details from the cited abuse case from Mexico and some musings about how complex the asylum process is, lamentably so, apparently. The feeling I am left with after reading this drivel is disgust. Disgust at the author, who is merely a representation of the state-run media's intentional bias toward keeping Obama popular-even if it means making him a hero in instances where he has done nothing substantive. The only bit of information gleaned from this piece was that women who are subject to FGM do not qualify for asylum. And for that information I am grateful. I think that should have been the headline.

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