Diallo Must Be Deported 74


When I get home to Ramsgate next week I have the papers for two new political asylum cases waiting for me to study, one of them a bulky parcel from UPS for a case in the United States. I will peruse them carefully to see if they appear genuine, and if so prepare expert testimony. In most ordinary cases I do this free of any charge. If necessary I will go to the tribunals to give evidence. I have won a large number of cases, and indeed never lost a case at tribunal. I have saved two people from deportation at the last minute, one literally en route to the airport. One would almost certainly have been killed on arrival in Uzbekistan.

It has got harder. The popular outcry against asylum seekers, whipped up by the tabloid media, has resulted in political determination to restrict numbers, and that has filtered down through all aspects of the system. If there is one thing that makes it harder still, it is fraudulent asylum seekers. They do exist, as does benefit fraud. These liars and cheats open the way for the malicious to attack the entire system, and cast unfair doubt on the whole principle of providing help to the genuine needy. It is not nasty conservatives who are the root of the reaction against asylum seekers – they merely feed off it and exploit it to their own vicious ends. Those truly undermining the system are fraudulent asylum seekers.

Nafissato Diallo is a fraudulent asylum seeker, a fraudulent benefit claimant, a fraudulent tax declarer, a fraudulent public housing occupier, an associate of criminals and a probable receiver of proceeds of crime. She lied about being raped on her asylum application (for which she was professionally coached with a tape of her false story), she lied about how many children she had in order to receive more benefits, she lied about her income to receive public housing and to avoid tax, she lied about the receipt of very substantial sums of money into her bank account from known, indeed imprisoned, criminals.

I judge she most probably lied too about being raped by Dominique Strauss Kahn. We will never know for sure, trial or no trial. The Guardian has for the last few months been full of articles telling us that a woman may be a fraudulent asylum seeker, a benefit, tax and housing cheat and a criminal associate, but she can still be a rape victim. That is absolutely true.

But they fail to say the converse. A woman may be a rape victim, but she can still be a fraudulent asylum seeker, a benefit, tax and housing cheat and criminal associate. That is equally true and equally important.

In order to maintain public support for the asylum system, it is essential that it has integrity. If Diallo is not now deported, nobody can believe in that integrity.

Now criminal charges against DSK are being dropped, there is no need for her to remain. She does not need to be ordinarily resident in the US for her money-seeking lawyers to pursue a civil case.

An astonishing ignorance of Africa pervades the comments on this issue throughout most of the web. I have lived in or worked on Africa most of my career. We seldom see any of the postive side of Africa on TV. In fact almost the only time Africa appears on our TV screens is when there is a terrible famine in East Africa, an act of piracy or civil war. But in real life Africa is a huge continent in which, despite relative poverty, the vast majority of its people live happily.

I am not in any sense denying or belittling the problems of poverty and disease, prolonged by an expoitative world economic system. But there is no famine in Guinea Conakry, where Diallo is from. People do not starve there. And she is a Muslim Fulani, and therefore part of a dominant group in Guinea Conakry, most certainly not a persecuted one. Which is why her claim was based on lies about gang rapes. There is no political reason why Diallo would need political asylum.

Of course Guinea Conakry is poorer than the United States. But actually it is not at all an unpleasant place, it really is not. Unless you believe that anyone from a poor country should always be allowed to emigrate to the United States, or that anyone from an undemocratic country should always be allowed to emigrate to the United States, (and you are quite entitled to that view if you hold it), there is no reason Diallo should not be returned. There really is not.

If you think all of Africa is a hell-hole, you are absolutely wrong.


74 thoughts on “Diallo Must Be Deported

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  • Nextus

    Exiledlondoner: “But many others claim asylum purely for economic reasons.” Is that bad? My Grandfather came to Britain for economic reasons.
    – Yes, it is bad. Asylum should not be confused with immigration. (I imagine your grandfather was an immigrant, legal or otherwise, instead of a fraudulent asylum seeker.) Immigration is an economically motivated scheme.

    “if you fear persecution, but aren’t sure if you will be accepted, then some will gild the lily.”
    – A fair point. The parallel with social security is apt here. Sometimes officials even advise applicants to omit details on their application forms, because if any doubts are raised, overzealous bureaucrats are unlikely to give them the benefit (pun intended). Any details that are unclear or unusual in the application tend to result in automatic denial, and the case goes to appeal. Applicants usually win, but only after weeks of persistent complaining, so if they have no alternative means of support in the meantime they’re really in trouble. I’ve seen people made homeless despite having valid claims.
    .
    Asylum applicants could conceivably find themselves compromised if they admit to, for example, being related to someone powerful or rich despite being estranged. (Omar Bin Laden was denied asylum in Spain, and Patrick Hitler had to write to Roosevelt to get a visa!). Unlike Craig I’m not in favour of immediate deportation of people whose applications contain false information. However if the investigation on appeal finds that they knowingly falsified information (e.g. faked a passport), they should be reprimanded and possibly prosecuted for fraud. If they are actually ineligible for asylum, they should be deported and barred from immigration. If they have a genuine asylum claim, they may earn a criminal record, but could stay on.
    .
    Which category does Diallo fall under? Is she an eligible exaggerator or an ineligible fraud? If the latter, she has no legal right to remain. If her main defence is that she’d be economically impoverished, that’s not asylum-seeking, it’s an immigration issue, and different rules apply. If she’s worried about her potential ancestors possibly being subjected to FGM, the US already has a general policy on such matters—and it doesn’t warrant automatic asylum. She shouldn’t be treated as a special case due to her role in the DSK scandal.
    .
    The US is no doubt spending a fortune on this lady to process her case, and conceivably paying her plane fare. The expenditure is necessary to maintain the integrity of the asylum system.
    .
    I take your point about inequalities being perpetuated by economic boundaries, but they are necessary to allow differentiation of social policies: in other words, political freedom. Otherwise we’d need a global neo-Trotskyite system like that advocated by the International Marxist Tendency. In the real world, it’s the international economic system that needs ethical reform. Multinational corporations now transcend geopolitical boundaries and are promoting international dependency to reinforce inequalities in the name of capitalism. They cannot be constrained by singular nations, and are even dictating economic policy to governments, who are worried about the economic impact of losing trade and tax revenue (witness Vodaphone, or the international banking cartel).

  • exiledlondoner

    Nextus,
    .
    Yes, it is bad. Asylum should not be confused with immigration. (I imagine your grandfather was an immigrant, legal or otherwise, instead of a fraudulent asylum seeker.) Immigration is an economically motivated scheme.
    .
    My grandfather arrived in the days when merely being able to afford the fare was taken as proof of your eligibility – as the world gets smaller, the walls get higher.
    .
    No, Asylum shouldn’t be confused with immigration, but with immigration not an option to 90% of the population, I don’t think it’s a surprise that it becomes plan B.
    .
    A fair point. The parallel with social security is apt here. Sometimes officials even advise applicants to omit details on their application forms, because if any doubts are raised, overzealous bureaucrats are unlikely to give them the benefit (pun intended). Any details that are unclear or unusual in the application tend to result in automatic denial, and the case goes to appeal. Applicants usually win, but only after weeks of persistent complaining, so if they have no alternative means of support in the meantime they’re really in trouble. I’ve seen people made homeless despite having valid claims.
    .
    So have I, and worse. People should be honest, but there comes a point when, if honesty is going to be so damaging, I find it difficult to condemn people for lying.
    .
    There have been recent cases in which the UK Government have returned people to unsafe countries (political dissenters to Tunisia, Gays to East Africa) in exchange for an unenforcable and worthless promise of safety. If I were in that position, I would lie through my teeth to remain here.
    .
    Asylum applicants could conceivably find themselves compromised if they admit to, for example, being related to someone powerful or rich despite being estranged. (Omar Bin Laden was denied asylum in Spain, and Patrick Hitler had to write to Roosevelt to get a visa!). Unlike Craig I’m not in favour of immediate deportation of people whose applications contain false information. However if the investigation on appeal finds that they knowingly falsified information (e.g. faked a passport), they should be reprimanded and possibly prosecuted for fraud. If they are actually ineligible for asylum, they should be deported and barred from immigration. If they have a genuine asylum claim, they may earn a criminal record, but could stay on.
    .
    I don’t disagree. Asylum can only be judged on the merits of the individual’s case. My issue with Craig was that he says she should be deported for lying – if she’s a liar, and she is at risk of persecution, then she shouldn’t be returned.
    .
    Which category does Diallo fall under? Is she an eligible exaggerator or an ineligible fraud? If the latter, she has no legal right to remain. If her main defence is that she’d be economically impoverished, that’s not asylum-seeking, it’s an immigration issue, and different rules apply. If she’s worried about her potential ancestors possibly being subjected to FGM, the US already has a general policy on such matters—and it doesn’t warrant automatic asylum.
    .
    I have no idea which category she falls into. That’s the point – the DSK case is a red herring and says nothing about her right to asylum.
    .
    She shouldn’t be treated as a special case due to her role in the DSK scandal.
    .
    That cuts both ways – Saying that Diallo must be deported seems to be making her a special case.
    .
    I take your point about inequalities being perpetuated by economic boundaries, but they are necessary to allow differentiation of social policies: in other words, political freedom. Otherwise we’d need a global neo-Trotskyite system like that advocated by the International Marxist Tendency. In the real world, it’s the international economic system that needs ethical reform. Multinational corporations now transcend geopolitical boundaries and are promoting international dependency to reinforce inequalities in the name of capitalism. They cannot be constrained by singular nations, and are even dictating economic policy to governments, who are worried about the economic impact of losing trade and tax revenue (witness Vodaphone, or the international banking cartel).
    .
    I believe in economic boundries, but they should be boundries for all economic forces. As you suggest, Multinational corporations have become the only entities with true impunity – they are not constrained by national laws, as people are, or international laws, as states are. If an individual or a state murders civilians, there is in theory some redress, but corporation exist above man-made laws.
    .
    The actions of oil companies, mining companies, chemical companies and the like highlight the need for a Geneva Convention for international business.

  • aka Dreoilin

    “Hence the name-play: Shades-of-Dreoilin. I made no identity claim” — Nextus
    .
    No, but others might construe it that way, which is why I refuted such a claim.
    .
    “Anyway, enough of the petty personality squabbles: it’s the legal/moral topic that’s important here.”
    .
    Your leaps between pomposity and menopausal bitchiness are a bore. As I said: get over yourself.

  • Shadesofgrey

    the point, among others, was that the male equivalent of FGM would be (at least a partial) amputation of the penis.

    i wonder, since it is so easy to be bitchy on this thread, whether we could reflect that none of us know this poor woman of whom we type, whose mutilation we discuss. yes, i am stepping in alongside someone who broadens understanding with research and facts, as opposed to attacking her with opinion, certainly. you can call that ‘tagging’ if you wish.

    Exiled Londoner, it was your analysis of the fake free market which i particularly liked; not the idea that lying by asylum seekers is either commonplace or to be expected. i don’t know if you meant that implication? i’ve known several asylum seekers rather well and none of them have had even to stretch the truth. quite often, in fact, the whole horror of their story will only emerge years later; the reality, when fresh, being almost too terrible to talk about.

  • Jon

    > @ShadesOfDreoilin: Thanks for holding EL’s coat.
    .
    Easy does it, Nextus! Clearly you and Dreoilin are at loggerheads over this discussion, but separate comments dedicated to having a dig are probably not helpful. You’re both valued commenters here, and both have excellent contributions to offer; these things are complex, and honestly held disagreements are inevitable.
    .
    There is quite a bit of handle-changing going on recently, incidentally. I get to see a bit more of it since I recognise email addresses when moderating. Something got into the water supply? As far as I see it, the only reason someone might want to change a handle is if they’ve used something too common (i.e. yours truly) and someone else chooses the same handle (there is another Jon hereabouts occasionally). I should set up a Gravatar, I suppose…

  • Nextus

    Jon, as it happens, I think we have now reached a sort of consensus on the topic of this thread – a fine result considering the controversial pronouncements at the beginning. This discussion progressed rather well in my opinion.
    .
    I’ve explained my dialectical tactics viz selective confrontation in a previous thread, after engaging Charles Crawford, sandcrab and others. Notice how the strong contradictions resolve into agreement as the heat gets turned down. This is a well-known negotiation tactic; incidentally, it is also one of the quickest ways to resolve extreme opinions in counselling scenarios. Craig uses similar methods from time to time. The ethical maxim is to match patronising comments by implication rather than insult. And I actually don’t mind soaking up some personal abuse under an anonymous tag: it allows people to discharge some of the emotion that was underlying their overstatements, in a relatively harmless way.

  • shadesofgrey

    Nextus, I’m afraid I am in no way agreeing with you; silence in the face of obfustication is not tacit acceptance. I thought your refusal to address dreoilin’s points hardly evidence of ‘dialectical tactics’ and rather more evidence of someone determined to try and work their way out of a paper bag of their own making by tearing it from one corner, very very slowly. The meandering rip which has resulted has not, so far, provided an exit. The patronising comments which slip through it are neither illuminating nor accurate. You were initially taking dreoilin to task for exposing the reality of life in Guinea for women, including Ms Diallo, and for explaining the nature and prevalence of FGM. Instead of addressing these points you embark on a lengthy ramble about tribal customs.

    Jon: there are other reasons for changing a handle. I don’t know dreoilin’s, or richard’s: but i do the know the feeling that a part of one’s persona no longer fits the board. Strange thing, handles.

  • Nextus

    No, Shadesofgrey. To recap, I was initially taking Dreoilin to task for suggesting that Craig’s call to deport Diallo implied a lack of concern about FGM in Guinea, so if he was concerned about it, he shouldn’t call for her to be deported. Which is clearly flawed reasoning, as Craig pointed out himself.
    .
    Of course, I agree that that FGM is scandalous, and I concur with UNICEF’s strategy to persuade the Guinean culture that it isn’t compatible with their other values (rather than just rescuing individuals); it’s the only sensible way to solve the endemic problem. That entails engaging with the culture, not enforcing an external morality. But if you don’t want to read “rambles” about ethical relativity, that’s entirely up to you. The point was an additional nuance, rather than “instead of”.
    .
    Does venting about tearing paper-bags makes you feel better? I suspect it does, so it’s a good thing in a way. It makes little difference to me or casual readers of this blog.

  • aka Dreoilin

    “I was initially taking Dreoilin to task for suggesting that Craig’s call to deport Diallo implied a lack of concern about FGM in Guinea”.
    .
    It implied a lack of concern for Diallo’s daugher and grandchildren, GIVEN THAT FGM is widespread in Guinea. *You* tried to say that I was suggesting that Craig didn’t care about FGM in general in Guinea, which I wasn’t. What “Craig pointed out himself”, was that he had no idea that FGM was so widespread there. You cannot “take people to task” when you either misunderstand what they’re saying, or pretend that you do.
    Furthermore, “the only sensible way to solve the endemic problem” is a different thing entirely from dealing with one woman and one daughter in New York. And now I have had more than enough of you.

  • aka Dreoilin

    Jon,
    I’ll sort out a new handle asap. This email address will not be “POP-able” shortly, since Yahoo are claiming to be “upgrading” their email, which in fact means that (certain) addresses will not be ‘pop-able’ unless you pay them. Shadesofgrey’s point about “feeling that a part of one’s persona no longer fits the board” is relevant also. I’ll be getting rid of both the handle and the (to be redundant, to me) email address.

  • shadesofgrey

    ‘Venting about paper bags’? I was constructing a metaphor. To put it in more simple language, I share dreoilin’s concern about the lack of concern for mutilated women on this blog. Calling something generally ‘scandalous’ is easy: addressing the specific fact that calls for a woman’s deportation will necessarily involve putting her daughter at risk is, apparently, not. Calling this mass mutilation itself ‘scandalous’ is a breathtaking understatement; unless you would similarly apply the word ‘scandalous’ to the practice of wholly or partly amputating most young boys’ penises. No-one is trying to ‘impose an external morality here’; unless it is one which implies that the relatives of a person who might have lied deserve no mercy. Oh brave new world. You can have it, Nextus. And there, I too leave you.

  • Nextus

    To recap more specifically:

    Dreoilin: “It implied a lack of concern for Diallo’s daugher and grandchildren, GIVEN THAT FGM is widespread in Guinea.”
    – Since Craig hadn’t mentioned FGM in his original message, and Diallo’s daughter and (potential) grand-daughters haven’t been specifically threatened, how do you link those two statements? You did in fact fill the logical gap by attributing the following implicit opinion to Craig:
    .
    “And to hell with women suffering female genital mutilation in Guinea. That’s not even on your radar, because you say, “it is not at all an unpleasant place, it really is not.”
    .
    It is that statement that I initially picked up you up on – as I just reiterated, but you tried again to deny.
    .
    Dreoilin: “What “Craig pointed out himself”, was that he had no idea that FGM was so widespread there.”
    – I’m afraid you are spinning his message by selective misreporting. His actual reply was rather less sanguine:
    .
    “Dreoilin,
    I am very surprised by the 96% figure, and don’t altogether believe it. In some country districts perhaps. However I do not in the least deny FGM is a serious problem that needs to be countered throughout Africa.
    But are you seriously arguing that because of it every Guinean woman should have the right of asylum in the USA? Do you think that the solution to FGM is to move African women to the USA?
    I think fraudulent asylum seekers should be removed, full stop. It has nothing to do with whether she was, or was not, assaulted by DSK. It appears the authorities believe she was probably not.”
    .
    Notice that Craig doesn’t “in the least deny FGM is a serious problem that needs to be countered throughout Africa, yet he still calls for the deportation of Diallo. I tried to explain in the subsequent messages that these two positions are compatible. It seems others accepted that. We were converging on a consensus that Diallo’s legal right of residency turns upon the validity of the asylum claim, not her economic welfare or the possible FGM of her descendents. If you want to reopen that dispute again, I’m still willing to engage, because I think it is important. I’ll avoid patronising you, provided you refrain from making barbed allegations.

  • Jon

    On switching handles – Craig has set no rule here about it afaik, so it’s fine with me. Personally I quite like getting to “know” a person, even through only a static pseudonym, but so long as there’s no sock-puppets, I guess there’s no harm. Just thought it was strange that there appeared to be a spate of it 🙂

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