We give "political asylum" to ballet dancers and athletes. They are obviously in a privileged position in their respective countries, far from being victims of political persecution, not to mention being in danger of losing their lives. But we don't approve of their governments.
A lady from El Salvador has had her husband, a son, and several friends "disappear." We send her back, because she can't prove (by INS criteria) that she is in any "clear and present danger." The real criteria: we approve of her government.
Don't you think it quite a strange coincidence that, in the environment of bombings of the countryside, assassinations of farmers, teachers, and village leaders, not to mention the ever present death squads, with the daily "disappearings," we get a sudden flux of "economic" refugees from Central America? What a coincidence! Economic my foot! When anyone might "disappear," everyone is in danger! Like my brother used to say during World War II: "It's not the bullet with my name on it that scares me, it's the one that says 'To whom it may concern.' "
RICHARD K. THOMPSON