Russian Dissenters Fleeing Putin Often Face Abusive Immigration Detention Upon Arrival in the US

Russian Dissenters Fleeing Putin Often Face Abusive Immigration Detention Upon Arrival in the US

Conditions in immigration detention centers are sufficiently bad that one Russian dissenter who experienced them told the Times that “I came to realize that I had left Russia for a place that was just like Russia.”

Without more extensive data, it is not clear whether Russian asylum seekers are subjected to especially bad treatment because of their nationality, or whether they are “merely” being subjected to abuse at same rate as other asylum seekers. But, either way, the situation is unconscionable.

The ultimate solution to the plight of asylum seekers to is a major general liberalization of immigration policy that would make the process of entering the US legally much easier, more accessible, and faster. But even within the confines of the current system, there are many more humane alternatives to prolonged immigration detention.

In previous writings, I have explained in some detail why opening Western doors to Russians fleeing Putin is the right policy on moral, strategic, and economic grounds (see here, here, and here). Doing so would simultaneously rescue people from horrific oppression, promote US economic growth and scientific innovation, deprive Putin of valuable manpower, and give us a leg up in the the international war of ideas against Putin’s regime. The case has been furthered strengthened by Putin’s “partial mobilization” order, which subjects hundreds of thousands of Russians to the grave injustice of conscription for the purpose of waging an unjust war. The main beneficiary of US mistreatment of Russian refugees is Vladimir Putin, who can use it to bolster his claims that the West is hostile to Russians, as such.

I have also criticized the argument that we should bar Russians because they are responsible for the war in Ukraine. The same goes for the more general claim that citizens of unjust regimes have a duty to stay home and “fix their own countries.”

Because I am a Russian Jewish immigrant myself, some may suspect that I am advocating for Russians fleeing Putin out of some sort of ethnic or racial sympathy or bias. Not so.  I have also long advocated for openness to Ukrainian refugees, as well. In a previous post, I listed some of my extensive writings advocating for opening Western doors to predominantly non-white groups of migrants and refugees. Since then, I have also written this piece on the case for opening Western doors to Chinese fleeing their governments cruel “Zero Covid” policies and other repression.

Leave a Reply