Life and Death

The Salt Lake Tribune reported on a immigrant couple who have tried to follow all the necessary rules to become U.S. citizens. It is a good example of how broken the legal immigration system is. This couple has worked hard to become part of their community and have a naturalized son. I don’t think they are asking to be treated specially, simply fairly, and that is not what the existing system is giving them.

What caught my eye is the Hatch response to the situation has been muted. Where our Senior Senator could help a Utahn in need, it is slow in coming due to the “political” ramifications. Although Senator Hatch has worked to extend residency for legal immigrants, he has done very little to fix the bureaucratic system that law-abiding immigrants have to jump through to attain citizenship. It must be like taxes, he needs to be chair of the finance committee to actually get anything done.

Hatch’s spokeswoman Heather Barney states that this kind of action is reserved for, “Life or death situations.” Maybe that means bringing the U.S Congress into your family hospital room decisions. Thankfully there is a way we can find out. According to GovTrack here are some current life or death situations:

S. 3047: A bill to reduce temporarily the duty on unit asy-battery hi volt.
S. 3048: A bill to reduce temporarily the duty on certain transaxles.
S. 3049: A bill to suspend temporarily the duty on shield asy-steering gear.
S. 3045: A bill to suspend temporarily the duty on converter asy.
S. 3050: A bill to suspend temporarily the duty on booster and master cyl asy-brake.
S. 3044: A bill to suspend temporarily the duty on hydraulic control units.
S. 3046: A bill to suspend temporarily the duty on module and bracket asy-power steering.

20 thoughts on “Life and Death

  1. The illegal immigration is just that “Illegal”. The fellow who tried to justify his immigration based on longevity of illegal presence, does NOT need any special consideration. He broke the law when he came here. He was deported, he illegally came back. He had children here who are “pseudo” US and Mexican citizens. The citizenship of those kids, born in a family of illegal aliens in the USA, should have their citizenship revoked.
    The mores of the American society is being compromised with those who have climbed fences, hidden on trains, with laws that have been broken and now just because they have been here for a long time, expect to be a legal citizen? He broke the law. He came here and once a law is broken, probably broke other laws.
    I agree with the Supreme Court, these illegals along with the kids that were born from illegals need to be deported back to their country of origin.
    This all occurred on Orin Hatch’s watch, especially in the last 5 or 7 years, it has exploded. Our economic prosperity is based on false factors, one of them the lower labor costs that have been driven down for all Americans by the illegal workers and Offshoring of services to India and other developing countries. In the meantime, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.
    The Forbes 400 Richest Americans in 2001 had an entry level of about $600 million. In 2005, the entry level of the Forbes 400 Richest Americans is $968 million, a 36% increase.
    Has the average American received a 36% increase in a four year period? You and I both know that wages and benefits along with pension theft is going on and the country is moving to a “House of Lords vs House of Commons” society.
    The illegals and the kids born of illegals need to be sent back to where the parents came from and apply for US Citizenship like my forefathers did, the old fashion way via Ellis Island.

  2. Mike, you obviously didn’t read the article. The Sahs came here legally; they were never deported (before now) or charged with any immigration violation. They applied for asylum and INS/ICE denied their application; they were HONEST about their status and now they face deportation. You do not understand what Pete is trying to say: that the system for LEGAL (not just illegal) immigration is broken and needs to be fixed. However, Hatch and others prefer to bury their heads in the sand and avoid solving the tough problems by blaming Democrats and retreating to focus-group tested buzzwords, like amnesty. Pete is proposing that we need to fix the LEGAL immigration system also, and not just waste time with duty suspension bills.

  3. I think it’s particularly interesting to read about how immigration laws have changed over the years. One good source is the INS website:

    An excerpt:
    “Americans encouraged relatively free and open immigration during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and did not question that policy until the late 1800s. After certain states passed immigration laws following the Civil War, the Supreme Court in 1875 declared that regulation of immigration is a Federal responsibility. Thus, as the number of immigrants rose in the 1880s and economic conditions in some areas worsened, Congress began to issue immigration legislation. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and Alien Contract Labor laws of 1885 and 1887 prohibited certain laborers from immigrating to the United States. The more general Immigration Act of 1882 levied a head tax of fifty cents on each immigrant and blocked (or excluded) the entry of idiots, lunatics, convicts, and persons likely to become a public charge. These national immigration laws created the need for a Federal enforcement agency.”

    The basic requirement to begin was a simple five year residency. You didn’t have to ask permission to come here. You didn’t have to get any kind of permit to enter or stay. You came, kept your nose clean, and at the end of five years went to a local court and petitioned for citizenship. Of course, there were also slaves, convicts, and indentured servants who were unwilling immigrants.

    During the Civil War, because there were so many German immigrants, whole companies of soldiers spoke only German. Service in the military was another way to obtain your citizenship, and if I’m not mistake, still is. In the 1850s and 1860s, German was more widely spoken in Western New York than English.

    Ellis Island is a “modern” invention. It’s also a mistaken notion that all immigrants came through Ellis Island. You could immigrate through any port and Boston, Charleston, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Philadelphia all served as arrival points. Even so, it was still a relatively simple process, and not the convoluted thing it’s become.


  4. “…Blocked (or excluded)…persons likely to become a public charge.” Well, considering that illegal immigrants from Mexico and south of the border in general are claiming welfare at rates highly disproportionate to their percent of the population in many states, I would say they have become a public charge. Send ’em home.

  5. That’s a very interesting comment. The welfare rates in California I think are something like 30% for illegal immigrants, but this is Utah and I’d be interested in knowing what the rate is for Utah. The entire Hispanic population is only about 200,000. I would suggest that the reason for welcoming these immigrants and giving them either special status or citizenship is on a longer timeline.

    The US is undergoing a demographic transformation as its population gets older. In 2030+/-, there will be two workers for every person on Social Security. Assuming there is no increase by immigration, then how do we increase the number of workers? The standard way is by having more children, but the birth rate is pretty stable now. An alternate way is by allowing immigrants into the country.

    Doesn’t it seem a little shortsighted to take 100% of a class of people and apply a punishment which only 30%, at most, merit when the effect of NOT the immigrants, but the children they have, benefits the entire country?

    Further, I wonder if the welfare figures reported don’t actually represent welfare for the US born children of illegal immigrants. Would there be a welfare problem if the minimum wage were increased? Doesn’t the one solve the problem of the other? Would streamlined immigration procedures help? I have an associate from Canada and there are absolutely no welfare benefits available to her at all as a legal immigrant. I seem to recall that she has to be here for seven years to qualify for any type of Federal aid. Perhaps I’m wrong on that. I’ll have to ask her.


  6. Pingback: Pete Ashdown’s Campaign Journal » Life and Death Part II

  7. I just read the follow-up article reporting that they were heading back to India last Friday. Their natural-born American son represented Utah in the National Spelling Bee. They owned two hotels. These guys were not ever and probably never would need to be on welfare (barring, of course, extremely tragic circumstances). Now we have a 12-year-old unquestionably legal American Citizen (born on US soil to legal residents) forced to go back to India because his father started a plea for asylum in the US.

    Sah first applied for asylum in 1991 because of Hindu/Muslim tensions in his home town. “It wasn’t until 2000 that Ken Sah got his first hearing before U.S. immigration officials. He was then quickly denied asylum 31 days short of his 10th anniversary in this country.
    If Ken had been on U.S. soil for a full 10 years before the hearing, he could have applied for legal residency on grounds that deportation would be a hardship on his son, an American citizen.” (from ).

    “Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
    But let India keep the honest workers.

  8. You all obviously didn’t read the article. Well, maybe a few did. But for one thing, I am Ken Sah’s ONLY son, Kunal. We are not Mexican we had come from India. My parents came here legally and were honest all the way. They got sent back for no reason.

  9. Why aren’t the facts of this case being reported? The father was sent back for very good reason. He was sent back because of his affiliation with a terrorist organization in India named Vishwa Hindu Parishad. As a member of this organization the father participated in acts to persecute non-Hindus and to destroy their mosques. Political asylum isn’t intended for terrorists. It’s intended for their victims. Here’s a link to the court’s decision.

  10. Facts? I don’t see anything in the judge’s decision stating that the Sahs were deported because of terrorism. If a one-time advocation of violence against Muslims is terrorism, then we had better get busy locking up a large percentage of America. If our courts are here to mediate between ethnic groups of other nationalities, then they’ve been slacking on the job as refugees who hate each other pour in from all the world.

    The problem here is that it took 9 years and 11 months to make a decision in an asylum case. If this same decision had been made in 1997 there would be no outcry. If the Sahs had ignored the law and flown illegally under the radar, they’d still be here. How this fits the 6th Amendment’s “speedy trial” is beyond me.

  11. I don’t see anything in the decision that states it was a “one-time advocation” of violence. “Advocation” suggests that he merely stood on the sidelines and encouraged people to riot. That’s not what happened. He wasn’t a bystander. He admitted to organizing the riots. His asylum application admitted that he “had a leadership role”. His organization rioted repeatedly, persecuted non-Hindus and destroyed mosques. There is a difference between hate and acting on that hate. He’s already shown his willingness to act on his hatred and he shouldn’t be given the opportunity to repeat those acts in our country.

    I agree that it shouldn’t have taken so long to deport him. I think 9 years and 11 months is way too close to the 10-year mark that would have granted him automatic asylum. Unfortunately, that’s how the system currently works. The system is backlogged and it’s getting worse every day. The only way to catch up is to seal the borders until we can evaluate the people that are already here.

    This is from the decision ‘The IJ denied the request for asylum, relying largely on three findings. First, the IJ concluded that Sah’s oral statements were not credible in light of the contradiction between his testimony and his original asylum application. Second, the IJ found that, notwithstanding his testimony to the contrary, Sah had participated in the persecution of non-Hindus and thus was ineligible for asylum. Third, the IJ noted that “India has approximately 800 million Hindus living there and [Sah] has not shown that he could not live in another area where it is more peaceful for people of his religion.” R. 46.’

    Also from the decision ‘Finally, the IJ found that Vishwa was affiliated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which a State Department report characterized as “a Hindu nationalist party with links to Hindu extremist groups that have been implicated in violent acts against Christians and Muslims.” R. 45’

    Doesn’t “violent acts against Christians and Muslims” qualify as terrorism? The State Department apparently thought it did.

  12. How much persecution of Christians and Muslims did he do while in Green River? You would think that India would be happy to have this dangerous “terrorist” extradited back to their country for trial. Exactly how has that been going over there anyway? While you’re describing the criminal trials against the Sahs, tell me what Immigration is doing about Luis Posada Carriles.

    The Sahs were not on trial for criminal acts. They were applying for asylum in a court that took nearly a decade to do something. When did America switch to guilty before proven innocent?

  13. Is it your position that terrorists should be allowed into our country as long as they don’t harm us? If so, that’s ludicrous. I prefer to keep the known terrorists out of our country altogether. Our government determined that he didn’t qualify for political asylum based on his own admissions. He was the aggressor and not a victim. That was the decision of the immigration judge. That decision was upheld on appeal by the Board of Immigration Appeals and later by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. He had his day in court…3 times! He had a trial and 2 appeals. All decided against him. Instead of complaining about how he was railroaded by our system he should be grateful that he got to experience the American dream for an additional 15 years while he pursued this sham of political asylum.

    Your journal entry portrayed Ken Sah as an innocent victim. I attempted to correct your characterization of him by presenting facts. Your entry didn’t include anything about Luis Posada Carriles.

  14. My position is that people are innocent until proven guilty and the current immigration system encourages people to break the law rather than follow it. If the U.S. is to be a court for all international crimes, then we’ve got a lot of deporting to do.

    Neither the court nor you have been able to justify Ken Sah as a “terrorist”. My entry didn’t need to talk about Carriles because nobody has described Sah as a terrorist until you have in your comments. Carriles is a self-admitted bomber who enjoys American citizenship and is being protected against extradition. You characterize Sah as a ringleader in a riot and an attack, but he hasn’t been charged with anything in the country where it happened. Unless you were a witness or there are court proceedings convicting Ken Sah of such offenses then you have no authority to accuse the man. There was a beer “riot” at the Salt Lake Olympics, were the participants “terrorists” or just drunk?

    Even the IJ does not make this claim. What is said is that his statements are contradictory and I think that is a pretty weak reason to throw someone out of the country who has followed the law and made a contribution to our economy, even if it is upheld three times. Even more so when a U.S. Senator makes exceptions for all kinds of other immigration offenses except one that is near election time.

    As for the contradictory statements, what I see is someone who came out of an ethnically charged environment and lost his hate and prejudice over a decade. What a horrible offense and danger to this country.

  15. Blaming our immigration policy for illegal aliens is like blaming the sales tax for shoplifters. Both groups of people choose to violate our laws.

    Sah admitted to his actions. That is part of the court decision and the various courts found those claims to be credible. He confessed! How much more proof do you need? I am simply repeating his admission. His actions make him a terrorist. He deliberately acted to persecute non-Hindus. Who were the beer rioters trying to persecute?

    The courts didn’t stop at just calling his statements contradictory. What the courts said was that his oral statements were not credible when compared to the written statements he submitted with his application. The court even described his written statements as “militant” and recognized his oral statements as an effort to downplay his “militant” writings.

    You hide behind the absence of criminal proceedings in his homeland while ignoring another fact recognized by the immigration judge. His religion is in the majority and governs India. It’s unlikely that India would try him for his actions against a minority. In this country we recognize equal rights among different groups despite their percentage of the population.

    I see somebody who knew he was at the mercy of our government at a time when all foreign nationals are scrutinized. With his violent history he had to behave or he would have had no chance of convincing anybody that he was a victim so he could attain U.S. citizenship. His whole case rested on his claims that he was a victim.

  16. When the law is convoluted and bureaucratic it encourages the path of least resistance, that is breaking the law. Perhaps you see the same vision of the law as Javert, considering no background in lighting the crime.

    Sah’s admissions are organizing meetings and attending a riot. Please point me to the confession of violence against people, because I don’t see it. Your concern for Mosques built on sacred Hindu land is admirable, but I really don’t think we need to be concerned about that here.

    I don’t believe people who hold meetings and participate in demonstrations are terrorists. You don’t know if Sahs’ actions in the “riot” were bystander, chief-demolisher, rock thrower, or defender. You merely pass judgment of “terrorism” like it is a given fact and pretend immigration judges decide criminal cases. If he was a violent criminal, he would still be tried in India, regardless of the majority rule. Do you judge the largest democracy in the world as harshly as you judge its citizens? You seem to know so much about the ethnic makeup and dominant political powers of India, can you tell me what ethnic background their President is from?

    Are rioters protesting the WTO around the world all “terrorists” or are they justified because there is no ethnic group on the other side? Is Eric Rudolph not a “terrorist” because he is part of the dominant religion in the USA? Your definition of “terrorist” is overbroad and it still stands that it never came up in this case. You can call Ken Sah a “terrorist” all you want, but the fact remains that nobody else is.

    His claim that he would be persecuted as a Hindu in the region of India that he was from was valid for 1997 where they were a MINORITY. Segregation and separation and an entire decade have changed that situation. It nevertheless does not justify 10 years of inaction by immigration. Carrilles’ “proceedings” lasted two years.

  17. Sah had no claim to political asylum. That’s what the law says and that’s how 3 different courts decided. He had several opportunities to prove his case and he was unable to convince at least one court that he would be in danger if he returned to India. That’s when he was deported.

    Sah admits that he held a leadership role within the organization and that he organized some of the riots. He admits that the organization persecuted non-Hindus and sought to destroy their mosques. He admits participating in one of these riots in an effort to destroy a mosque. The man confessed and you still stick up for him as if he’s a victim of some great injustice. I didn’t claim that immigration judges heard criminal cases. You keep relying on a criminal conviction as the only acceptable form of proof despite the man’s own confession. He didn’t claim that the confession was beaten out of him or that he was coerced to make those statements. He made them of his own volition.

    I’ll call him a terrorist because his actions justify it and it matches the definition given by our government long before the war on terror began. Terrorism isn’t reliant upon ethnicity, but ethnicity is what motivated Sah. Protestors do not normally qualify as terrorists, but Sah was much more than a protestor simply marching in the streets to have his voice heard. Rarely are the facts of his deportation being reported by the media. Your journal didn’t even report his history or the reason given by our own government for his deportation. He is far from innocent and certainly not a victim. The efforts to withhold the truth about his past and the real reason for his deportation are an example of just how desperate the pro-illegal supporters are to put a sympathetic face on their side of the debate.

    Again, I agree with you that immigration was too slow. This man’s past justified a speedier response. He should have been deported back in ’91 when he first filed his false asylum application. Our asylum protections aren’t restricted to just an area of a person’s native country. Those protections must consider the conditions in the entire country. The court found that the 800 million Hindus in India were the majority and that Sah could return to his country without fear of the same persecution he inflicted on non-Hindus. This information is in the decision too. From the media attention he’s still getting it’s apparent that the court was right about him being able to live his life in India, which further justifies the court’s conclusion that his claim for political asylum was bogus.

  18. You label a man a terrorist for being part of a group that destroys a mosque yet you ignore the Carriles case. Many innocents died as a result of the latter’s actions. Why does one get deported and the other does not? Why do we allow Bosnian, Sudanese and Mid-East refugees who carried the same actions and sentiments of Sah in their country? The scales are tipped.

    The confession contained no admission of violence against other humans. This is important because there are no mosques on Hindu land in Green River, or anywhere else in America. It is a weak excuse to send someone home, especially when it breaks a family apart. What is it exactly, did Sah do that broke the law here?

    The use of labels like “terrorist” and “pro-illegal supporter” makes me realize this discussion is futile. My journal entry was about the priorities of our representation in Washington. Something I’d imagine you’re content with if you voted for the incumbent. Hatch’s office could have saved a lot of P.R. trouble if they followed your definition of the case, but they didn’t because it isn’t about terrorism. In spite of Heather Barney’s assertion, they’ve done a whole lot of nothing on this case. The immigration system needs reform and a 700 mile border-fence is a waste of time and money. I’ve clearly outlined what my remedies for immigration are and streamlining the system is an enormous part of that. How much time and effort did you put into promoting your view when I wrote this blog entry one year ago? I sat down with the Sahs’ attorney and discussed the case with him before spreading my opinion. Have you?

  19. Your journal entry didn’t include the Carrilles case and it’s the journal entry that I’m responding to. From a legal standpoint the Carrilles case isn’t comparable to the Sah case. As for case law, Carrilles has absolutely nothing to do with the Sah case. To compare one to the other is comparing apples to oranges.

    There may not be mosques in Green River presently, but what about in the future? How would he react if a mosque were to be built in Green River? Would he be willing to let others exercise their freedom of religion or would he react the same way he did in India? Sah has a history of infringing on the religious freedoms of others. The courts also recognized that Sah’s group was affiliated with a group that persecuted Christians as well as Muslims. Are we supposed to grant him citizenship only to find out he wants to destroy Christian churches as well? Maybe he would like to destroy some LDS temples while he’s at it. We just don’t know what he would do and to err on the side of caution is the roper course of action. His family wouldn’t have been broken apart had he not elected to have a child in our country while his case for political asylum was pending review. His claim for political asylum was nothing more than a con and it might not be too far of a stretch to think that he wanted an “anchor baby” to bolster his case. As far as we know, he didn’t break the law here. Neither did many criminals that are presently imprisoned in foreign lands. That doesn’t mean that we’re granting them political asylum.

    Hatch doesn’t need to get involved in this case. Sah has admitted to inciting violence in his own country and we have no reason to believe that he wouldn’t do the same thing here if he were to be granted citizenship. I didn’t know about your journal a year ago and I only ran across it while researching Sah’s case. The problem with discussing a case with an attorney is that they’re paid to represent one side of the case. They’ll tell you the version that’s most favorable to their client. If courts made their decisions based on what was presented in the media then we would have a very lopsided legal system. A court listens to both sides of the argument and considers all of the facts before rendering a judgment. That’s why I’ve relied on the findings of 3 different courts to form my opinion. Those courts found that the arguments presented by Sah and his attorney were not credible. Now, you’re asking Hatch to overrule 3 courts that listened to all of the arguments and reviewed all of the facts. Of course, he’s not going to do that.

    I agree that the immigration system needs to be overhauled. It’s seriously deficient. It needs to be streamlined and we need better border security. Those really aren’t huge factors in Sah’s case though. He came here with a student visa and only applied for political asylum when his student visa was about to expire. He was permitted to remain in our country for the next 15 years and he did very well for himself during that time. Given the findings of the various courts it’s very likely that had our system been fixed prior to ’91 he would have been deported shortly after he submitted his application for political asylum. He might not have experienced the successes he experienced while living in Green River. He still owns his businesses in Green River and on the east coast. His experience in America was far from a total loss.

  20. It really doesn’t take this much back-and-forth to make the point: the couple’s application for political asylum in the U.S., not for any other type of immigration, was denied because the courts did not believe that they, being member of the ruling ethnic group of the country, couldn’t ust move to another part of the country to be safe. Since that was the only basis of their application, whether the husband participated in a terrorist organization is really secondary. So I don’t understand why there is such an outrage about their deportation if their visas ran out and their application for asylum had been denied. The couple’s claim is as absurd as a muslim claiming fear of persecution by Christians or Jews in Saudi Arabia or a Communist Party member in China or North Korea afraid of persecution by non-communist party members. I have read many discussions about their case elsewhere. Most of them are sympathetic and sounded like the posters were unaware of the reason that their application was denied. They were not denied for a regular immigration (and thus the theory of discrimination due to 9/11). They were denied because their reasoning has no bases. That said, it IS appalling for the immigration authority to take that long to process this case.

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