Temple Law Prof Explains Balance to NPR

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

On immigration, that is. They’re probably not ready for a balance in media presentation. They may not have been prepared for this discussion either, although NPR host Audie Cornish introduced Temple Law professor Jan Ting as a man who “largely agrees with Sessions’ interpretation of asylum law.”

“All the attorney generals have said, gee, this as a difficult issue,” Ting told the NPR host. “You know, you’re trying to find the right balance of trying to protect the people that the statute is meant to protect and yet not throw the definition of refugee so broadly that we’re kind of overwhelmed.”

“I mean, I think there’s a political consideration here, too, that for those of us who believe in the asylum statute and the protection that it provides, you can’t throw the doors so wide open that you lose political support for that concept, as is I think happening now.”

Cornish then said, “But one argument people are saying is that there’s such thing as gender-based violence, for instance, and therefore, if you have a government that cannot or will not control or protect people who are struggling – right? – and that there’s systematic dysfunction in that justice system, those people should be able to apply for asylum.”

Ting replied, “Well, you can make that argument for all kinds of groups of people – right? – I mean, people who are threatened by criminal violence, and the government can’t do anything about criminal violence. People who are threatened by civil war – right? – their homes are being bombed, and the government can’t stop the bombing from going on. They can’t stop the civil war. So there are all kinds of life-threatening situations and, frankly, sympathetic situations for the people that are involved. But we have to ask ourselves the question is this who the statute was intended to protect?”

“And I think it’s clear both internationally and in the United States that the statute was drafted to protect a discrete and limited number of people. They carefully defined who was to be protected. You have to have been a victim of persecution or threatened with persecution. What is persecution? You know, it’s not discrimination. It’s not that a volcano exploded and there’s ash falling on your home. It’s not that there are no jobs in your area. Even if the government is doing nothing about creating jobs for you, that’s not persecution. So I think people were conscious of the fact that this was to provide protection for a limited and discrete number of people.”