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Dear Editor:
In response to Irene Weiser, Stop Family Violence in New York, NY, who claims that Ms. Alvarado " . . . fled to the US in search of safety." Mrs. Weiser seems to be making a statement that says, "If battered women (men anyone?) of the world can enter the US, the US should provide them with permanent residence on the basis that their husbands (wives?) were cruel to them in their homeland." Hogwash - although I know I am bucking the trend. As a Guatemalan, and native Spanish speaker, should not Mrs. Alvarado not more appropriately have sought safe haven in a nearby Spanish speaking country, perhaps one to which she could have driven her family car (or oxcart), perhaps with children in tow? . . . i.e. Mexico, Honduras or Costa Rica, all of which are closer to her homeland. But no, she wanted to come to the USA (hey, who wouldn't) - because, let's face it, because it offers a better economic circumstance - but perhaps not the only economic circumstance. Ultimately, as the most affluent country in the world, the US has a humanistic duty to provide safe haven to bona fide refugees and asylees, and to grant them permanent residence. The trick is to decide who should be allowed this extraordinary relief and who should not, on a case-by case basis. While I believe it is abhorrible for any man, or woman, to brutalize their family, when it comes to immigration debate, let's call a spade a spade as to why Mrs. Alvarado fled to the US, instead of somewhere else (eight year ago gender-based relief was not as sophisticated as it is today, so presumably she did not come here specifically to take advantage of this, although I may be wrong if Mrs. Alvarado turns out to be an educated and informed woman. While understandably a press release will not go into factual detail, and is intended to incite pity, rather than the logic of law, Ms. Weiser fails to tell us whether Mrs. Alvarado knew that when she entered the US was a safe haven for gender-based asylees, whether she was educated, employed, rich, poor, obtained a tourist visa and entered the US legally, and even...if she took her children with her when " . . . she fled to the US in search of safety", after being refused "official protection by the Guatemalan police". To me, these are important facts to be used in analyzing Mrs. Alvarado's asylum case. Although admittedly this is not the law, I believe that as a matter of policy, it is insufficient to merely claim she was beaten in her home country, ergo, she deserves permanent residence in the US - this appears to be the norm in gender-based thinking . . . if they make it here, keep them here. Granted, Mrs. Alvarado appears in need of some sort of compassionate relief, but now that the US seems to have some sort of jurisdiction over the person of Mrs. Alvarado, as an alternative to asylum, could not the government of the US intervene with the government of Guatemala to seek justice on behalf of Mrs. Alvarado and then return her to Guatemala (and presumably to her child(ren) in her homeland? Or is this idea too far out of the box? But that's just one lawyer's point of view. Bleeding hearts will differ.

David D. Murray, Esq.
Newport Beach, CA