The Self-Fulling Prophecy of Demonizing Immigrants

by Jason Dzubow on October 25, 2017

In his book, American Homicide, Professor Randolph Roth of Ohio State University argues that homicide rates correlate closely with four distinct phenomena: political instability; a loss of government legitimacy; a loss of fellow-feeling among members of society caused by racial, religious, or political antagonism; and a loss of faith in the social hierarchy. He examines 400 years of American history and concludes that these four factors best explain why homicide rates have gone up and down in the United States and in other Western countries, and why the United States today has the highest homicide rate among affluent nations.

“Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

Prof. Roth recently elaborated on his theories in the Washington Post. He writes–

When we lose faith in our government and political leaders, when we lack a sense of kinship with others, when we feel we just can’t get a fair shake, it affects the confidence with which we go about our lives. Small disagreements, indignities and disappointments that we might otherwise brush off may enrage us — generating hostile, defensive and predatory emotions — and in some cases give way to violence.

He goes on to detail the varying homicide rates for different communities within the U.S., and how those homicide rates track with the particular community’s faith in our governing institutions–

The homicide rate peaked for African Americans during the Nixon administration, at 43 per 100,000 persons per year, when their trust in government was at its lowest and their feelings of alienation were highest. And it peaked for white Americans in 1980, at 7 per 100,000 persons annually, when accumulated anger over busing, welfare, affirmative action, defeat in Vietnam and humiliation in Iran boiled over into the Reagan revolution.

During the 2008 election, Prof. Roth predicted that “the homicide rate in America’s cities would drop because of what [Barak Obama’s] candidacy would mean to African Americans and other minorities, who live disproportionately in urban areas.” Prof. Roth also “worried that the homicide rate would rise in the areas of the country most resistant to the idea of an African American president.” Data from President Obama’s time as president now seems to support the Professor’s prediction (at least according to Prof. Roth–and I believe him).

So what does this mean for immigrants and asylum seekers?

Maybe the answer is fairly obvious–If we demonize and disenfranchise non-citizens, we increase the likelihood that they will engage in violent behavior, and perhaps other anti-social or criminal conduct as well. And of course, this is a vicious cycle–the more we alienate such people, the more likely they are to engage in bad behavior, and the more they engage in bad behavior, the more we will alienate them.

We also have to remember who we are talking about. Many aliens already feel, well, alienated. Many asylum seekers and refugees have already suffered trauma and feel insecure and victimized. Adding to that sense of alienation by labeling them terrorists or rapists, and by treating them as criminals, will only increase the likelihood of anti-social behavior in this population.

Prof. Roth, writing after the massacre in Las Vegas, notes that “most mass murderers have been deeply affected by the distrust, disillusionment and enmity that pervade our society…. We have all played a part in creating them.”

If the violent outliers of our society in some ways reflect who we are, then the obvious solution is for us to do better. To be more civil, more inclusive, more compassionate. To disagree respectfully. To listen more and talk less. Frankly, it’s not all that difficult. It’s what teachers teach in our schools every day. It’s what we require in our workplaces. It’s what we see in our places of worship.

Unfortunately, it is not what we have in the immigration debate. Read the comments section of any news article about immigration and you’ll see what I mean. Politicians–most notably our Commander-in-Chief–have taken the visceral feelings about immigration and amplified them. This creates its own vicious cycle, and empowers extremists groups, like we saw in Charlottesville.

Prof. Roth’s work (and common sense) suggests that if you keep hammering away at vulnerable people, a few of them will eventually react negatively. Hopefully, this will not take the form of violent behavior, but the likelihood of a problem seems greater in such a toxic and threatening environment.

I do think there are things that ordinary people can do to help. Many individuals and organizations have been working to support immigrants, Dreamers, Muslims, and other targets of xenophobia. Giving people hope, and showing them that they are not alone, can mitigate the damage. Government attorneys, Immigration Judges, Asylum Officers and USCIS Officers who continue to do their jobs, and who enforce the law fairly and treat non-citizens with respect, also help counter the harm caused by haters.

Most research suggests that immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans, but if Prof. Roth’s theory is correct, the current Administration’s nativist language and policies might help cause an uptick in criminal behavior in our immigrant communities. And of course, if immigrant crime goes up, the Administration can use the increase to justify its anti-immigrant policies. It’s up to us–those of us who stand with immigrants–to continue offering them help and hope, and to try to break this cycle before it begins.


{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Raghu February 19, 2018 at 7:07 pm

Hello Jason,
I really appreciate you for helping many who are in need. That’s really awesome.

I am recently graduated and I am on OPT status. I have received my Asylum work permit recently. My question is In May 2018, my elder brother is getting married and I am the only one who has to take care of everything. My parents are worried about my arrival. Is there any way that I can go to my country for short period and come back. Please do help me. Your response is highly appreciated.



Jason Dzubow February 20, 2018 at 7:27 am

If you go to your country while your asylum case is pending, it will most likely result in the denial of your asylum case. To travel outside the US, you need Advance Parole. I wrote about that on September 11, 2017. Take care, Jason


Chintu February 18, 2018 at 10:57 pm

Hello Jason,

I got my Asylum permit and I am on my OPT status and has another 2 years of extension but planning to file H1 this year. I am filing H1 with some employer. But in future if I want to transfer my H1 to another employer, I need to get my H1 visa stamping done in my home country. How cum it is possible? Is there any alternate to get my stamping done and come back to US.

Your response is greatly appreciated.


Jason Dzubow February 19, 2018 at 7:27 am

I do not do H1b visas. However, I think you can switch employers without leaving the US. Talk to a lawyer who knows about H1b visas about that. Also, even if you have asylum pending, you should be able to enter the US on an H1b. Again, talk to a lawyer who specializes in H1b visas to be sure, but I think you will be fine. Take care, Jason


sunshine November 29, 2017 at 9:34 pm

Thank you very much such a hard work to help the needy people.I am following your blog since 2015.
i applied for asylum in 2015 on basis of life threat in chicago.i got my 2 year ead renewal last week after 8 month and after that i received a letter for interview in a week .
Please advise some helpful tips and i am bit confuse after renewal of 2 year ead i got interview back to back .what does it mean .
please advise i have only one week .
waiting for your quick reply.
many many thanks


Jason Dzubow November 30, 2017 at 7:28 am

Probably the renewal of the EAD and the interview notice are a coincidence. I wrote a post about the interview on September 8, 2016 – maybe that would help. Also, make sure you submit all your evidence to the asylum office in accordance with their rules (in my local office, Virginia, all evidence must be submitted at least one week before the interview). Take care, Jason


solxp October 30, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Hi Jason,

I know people have concerns using advance parole ( I had too) so I wanted to share my experience using advance parole to go to third country for medical reasons of family member.

I requested the parole using doctors medical note and explaining why I need to go, after ~3 month they asked to send them document that shows my relation to the persons who is getting the medication, I sent it and they send me 2 copies of the document after 1 more month.

After getting the document I left US and come back after 2 weeks, The airline checked my parole document on my flight it is used as avisa, here the CPB asked my why I had to go and repeatedly asked my that I have gone to my country which I didn’t. I told them I didn’t go to my country and they paroled me in. Since the document is not frequently used you may get extra scrutiny from CPB like the will send you to second officer and they will keep you waiting once they take your docs while they check on their systems, don’t panic be honest and you will be ok.

Make sure you don’t go to your home country with this document because it will be a big problem for your asylum case.

Thanks and Good Luck!


Jason Dzubow October 31, 2017 at 6:33 am

Thank you for this – it is very helpful. We have also had clients travel using AP, and no one has ever been denied entry or had any major problems at the airport (except for some delay as you describe). If a person goes to the home country, though, that certainly could create real problems. Take care, Jason


Asylee FINALLY October 28, 2017 at 8:24 pm

Good Evening Jason,

First of all many thanks for all the good work you are doing for all of us. I just got my approval letter for me and my family in mail today. I am following all your blogs from 2014 as long as i applied in Newark. I have gain alot of knowledge from your expertise and discussed many points with my attorney in lights of your advice always. I was interviewed on July 05, 2017 and was told to pick the decision after two weeks which was later changed to by mail by Newark Asylum Office.
Anyways Thanks alot once more. God Bless you Always.


Sara October 30, 2017 at 2:33 am

Congrats!!! And thank you for sharing your positive experience on here 🙂


Asylee FINALLY October 30, 2017 at 9:57 am

Thanks Sara and wish you the very Best of Luck for Your upcoming Interview.


Sara October 30, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Thank you!


Jason Dzubow October 31, 2017 at 6:03 am

Congratulations and welcome to the USA! Take care, Jason


Asylee FINALLY October 31, 2017 at 10:07 am

Thanks Jason.


Al October 31, 2017 at 10:01 pm

Hack yeah, Congratulations!


Asylee FINALLY November 1, 2017 at 9:01 am

Thanks Al.


john October 28, 2017 at 3:12 pm

Dear the Asylumist followers,
Just to give you a reference for EAD renewal delay issues.

I applied in March 2017 and received on march 2017.

EAD was expired on July 2017.

After 3 months of expiration period
My status changed just today October 28, 2017 “New Card Is Being Produced”.


Scopa October 28, 2017 at 4:25 pm

Dear John,
Thank you!
So how did you dealt with your employer during this three months?? And also driving license issues? Please share your experience.


john October 30, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Hi Scopa,
I have shown my receipt that contains a 180 days of extension to my employer and they verify it through E-verify.
The same procedure to the Driving license and they extend my license for 8 months since the expiration data.
hope it clarifies your question


Jason Dzubow October 31, 2017 at 6:02 am

There is an automatic extension – I did a post about that with links to the US government websites (which you can show to an employer) on January 25, 2017. Take care, Jason


Joe October 28, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Dear Jason,

I appreciate the great Work you do here, I have been following your website sine January 2017.

I will write out my timeline and follow up with a question/s, please kindly respond to it when you have the time. I am only asking for knowledge purposes.” I trust my lawyer Judgement so far”

My self and family arrived united states on B2 VISA 12/19/2016
We filled for asylum 05/24/2017
we went for finger print on 06/09/2017
we filled for work permit on 10/26/2017

1.Is the time for filling work permit okay?

2. I noticed my lawyer filled our I-589 to
P.O.BOX 87589
LINCLN NE 68501-7589

But filled EAD to
Please is there a reason for this or its standard procedure?

3. I have read so many comments on your site, is it true that the EAD now comes with SSN in the mail.

4. I am a business man in my home country before I left after having issues with a corrupt government and Police system, I was lucky enough to pull out some funds into the united states and i registered my company here in the united states. is it okay to run my business here while my application is pending or i should wait till i get the work permit in hand before i lunch out fully?

I appreciate You


Jason Dzubow October 30, 2017 at 5:44 pm

1. If the asylum was actually filed on May 24, then I think the timing is correct. 2. I do not know about this. 3. Yes, but this is very new and we have not actually seen it happen yet. 4. Running the business should not negatively affect your asylum case, but it could affect other immigration applications, so talk to your lawyer if you want to be on the safe side. Take care, Jason


Sara October 28, 2017 at 1:12 am

Just letting L.F., Celia and other NY applicants know that I received my interview invitation letter today. I applied end of April 2015 and I’m scheduled for the second week of November.
Time to start popping multivitamins.
Let’s do this.


Hyme October 28, 2017 at 7:50 am

Thank you to let us know. I’m in New York too and I applied end of June 2016.
Wish you the best of luck and keep us updated if you can.


Sara October 28, 2017 at 9:54 am

Many thanks, Hyme, for the good luck wishes 🙂 I will be sure to share anything that may be useful to you all.


Anonymous October 28, 2017 at 2:54 pm

Congratulations in advance sara. God is your strength.


Sara October 29, 2017 at 1:41 am

Thank you for the positive vibes and encouragement 🙂


Jason Dzubow October 29, 2017 at 1:22 pm

Godspeed – I wish you the best in the interview, Jason


Sara October 29, 2017 at 1:24 pm

Thank you so much, Jason ?


Celia October 29, 2017 at 11:01 pm

Good luck Sara!

Try to be calm and ace your interview, you seserve all the positive outcome!


Celia October 29, 2017 at 11:01 pm

I mean *deserve

Sara October 30, 2017 at 2:29 am

Thanks a lot, Celia ?

Ahsan October 29, 2017 at 11:03 pm

All the very best of luck!


Sara October 30, 2017 at 2:29 am

Many thanks, Ahsan ?


JN October 30, 2017 at 5:08 pm

Congs Sara. Let us know how it goes. Good luck


Sara November 1, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Thank you 🙂 Will do.


Anna October 27, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Hello Jason!
Thank you for everything you did for us. You are the best.
I start my process in September 2014. Dec., 5 2016 I had an interview. My interview was very fast. Only 1 hour and 15 min. My officer asked about my biographic and my husband a lot (he is in Ukraine and i m from Ukraine too). About my situation he asked only about 30 min. It was not interesting for him)) He said me that had no time and i need answer yes or no… When i try made my answer more deep he always interrupted me. By the way he didn’t included other translate who always on the phone. I was really confuse but what could to did?)) And i was waiting for my result during 9 month. I wrote to the office 23 times, visited office 3 times and sent 3 letters to senator. And Sep, 5 i received noted they they need my arguments because they don t trust me. It was 5 pages why they don t trust me. Only 20% of all this letter was true and correct)). The officer said that when he asked me about everything I didn t answer)) and other thing that I was quiet and stupid)))) during all interview. My layer was in the shock because of so many lie about my behavior on the interwie. We sent all arguments to the asylum office and i m waiting for result. How many time officers lye about our interview, guys?))) And not everybody received so detailed solution i had had. So it s a big big problem. They don t listen us, they don t want understand our situation and they play with our life!!!


Andrey October 27, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Hi Jason,

I wanted to share my experience applying for Travel Refugee Document after I have been granted asylum. I tried to expedite my application because of a business trip planned in December. Here is my timeline:

Sep 11, 2017 – Application received by USCIS (typed EXPEDITE in the right corner of every page submitted and provided a letter from my employer explaining why I need to travel overseas (not my home country) urgently)
Sep 13, 2017 – called USCIS to submit expedite service request. Have been told to expect response within 5 days.
Sep 18, 2017 – no response. Followed up with USCIS about expedite request and submitted second request. Second level representative advised to wait until I come for my biometrics.
Sep 19, 2017 – reached out to Senator for help
Sep 29, 2017 – Biometrics Appointment
October 6, 2017 – Infopass appointment. Not useful at all. The representative just submitted another expedite request
October 13, 2017 – Called USCIS again. No update. The agent just submitted fourth expedite request
Oct 16, 2017 – USCIS sent an email asking me to stop submitting expedite requests and wait for 45 days for a response.
Oct 17, 2017 – asked Senator to follow up with USCIS on my expedite request
Oct 19, 2017 – online status changed to “Your RTD has been produced”
Oct 21, 2017 – received my RTD in mail

In total, the whole process of getting TRD took me a bit over one month even though the average processing time is 3.5 months. So, my advice to anyone who is trying to expedite their USCIS documents is to be persistent and involve their Senators/Congressmen. I think in my case the email from Senator made a huge difference since before that USCIS was just giving me standard responses (wait for 5 days, then 30 days, and then 45 days).


bass October 27, 2017 at 4:36 pm

First congrats for the TRD Andrey and thank you for the advice I also need my document very urgent (first time to file) and your post is very enlightening for me. would you please help me to know if the TRD validity is one year or less and is it also do they give multi entry or one time use only


Andrey October 28, 2017 at 11:07 pm

Thank you! Yes, the RTD is only for one year unfortunately, and you have to renew it every year until you get citizenship. Luckily, at the time we apply for green card we can request a new RTD for free.


Jason Dzubow October 31, 2017 at 6:05 am

Right – When you pay for the green card (form I-485) that fee also covers one RTD (or other travel document) using form I-131 and the work permit (form I-765). Take care, Jason


Andrey October 28, 2017 at 11:08 pm

Sorry, forgot to mention, RTD is multiple entry


miya October 27, 2017 at 10:04 am

Hi Jason,
thank you for what you are doing and sharing all the information. i was granted asylum and applied for my GC after one year in November, 2016. after waiting for almost a year, they updated my status online this week by saying

“we transferred your Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status, Receipt Number ‘—————-‘, to an asylum office for processing. That office will mail you a decision or send you a request if it needs something from you. Please follow any instructions in the notice. If you move, go to to give us your new mailing address.”

do you have any idea what it means, what it will be the next process, and how long the process will take after receiving this?.
Thanks in advance


Jason Dzubow October 27, 2017 at 5:10 pm

I am not sure why the case was transferred to the asylum office. Maybe you can email your old asylum office and ask. You can find their email if you follow the link at right called Asylum Office Locator. If you get an answer, please let us know. Thank you, Jason


Zee October 26, 2017 at 10:20 pm

Hi sir,
You always suggest that asylee should not use their country passport instead they should use Refuge Travel Document for travel . One of my friend who recently got his green card applied for R T D but USCIS rejected his application saying that he should USe his green card as he is a permanent resident now . Can you please clarify about this?


Jason Dzubow October 27, 2017 at 6:32 am

It is better to use the RTD, and not the passport, if possible. If your friend got asylum and then a GC, he should be eligible for the RTD. If the application was rejected, either he made a mistake or USCIS made a mistake. Maybe he should talk to a lawyer to see how to correct the problem. Take care, Jason


Hyme October 26, 2017 at 7:11 pm

Dear Fellow Asylum seekers or already Granted or anyone else:

Like me, most of you might want to go back to school and do realize that our current status creates a big barrier. While we might get accepted to a College or University, the financial step might be a burden because we will most likely get considered as International Student and we have to pay an out-of-State Tuition.

We are not eligible for:
– Federal loan;
– Private loans ;
– Scholarship, grants and fellowship are for the most part for U.S Citizen or LPR and it is not certain we will have the chance
-International Student loans fro what i understand are not popular but if found they requires to have a US citizen or LPR to co-sign the loan.

Conclusion: while we are here and trying to stand on our feet financially most of us can’t think about higher education unless we are ready to pay the full cost.

But, recently i came across of an University online which is totally online and tuition free, they offer a very low cost service and a bunch of Scholarship if you cant afford the low cost set. You maybe already heard about them but for the rest of you who wants to know:

The name is University of the People and you can follow this link if you want more information.

I’m not an advocate for the University, i am like you an asylum seeker dealing with constant anxiety, fear and stress who is trying to help others. I was skeptical at first but after dire research i decided give it a try and today i get accepted for their program. Also, i’m not going to say they are a fancy University but for a non-profit organization i value their work and feel great to find a place to go school and feel important.

If you fled home without having to time to bring your school paper work they might help you with the process

Please if you feel devastated about any research for college give them a try and maybe you might find a path to start a great journey.

Thank you Jason for your work and i’m sorry to use your panel, hopefully you will understand my intentions.



Jason Dzubow October 27, 2017 at 6:25 am

Thank you for sharing – it looks interesting. This is the first I have heard of it. Take care, Jason


Jamie October 27, 2017 at 11:08 am

Correction: Asylees are eligible for all tuition assistance, federal or otherwise, just like a PR or citizen. In fact, eligible asylees are eligible for benefits a regular PR is not entitled to.

Most people are skeptical about accepting a degree that was completely done online, let alone from a university that no one has never heard of. I would definitely be suspicious of this.

There are unscrupulous people out there who are exploiting the plight of asylum seekers, DACA recipients and immigrants in general, because of the current administration’s seeming animosity towards immigrants.

Please exercise vigilance.


Hyme October 27, 2017 at 3:56 pm


When I started I said Asylum seekers first, meaning application still in process and not granted yet.

I’m well aware that ASYLEES are generally eligible for federal loans in-State-tuition,ect….and get accepted at a college or University the same way as an U.S. citizen or LPR might be. But the reality is a lot different for an ASYLUM SEEKER. If you know that an asylum seeker is eligible for FAFSA or any other federal or State financial aid for higher education ,please I’m open to hear the process from you.

My statement is about sharing an alternative to those who might want to improve their knowledge by having an higher education but are limited by their current status like an ASYLUM SEEKER. Also, even you might be granted asylum it might still be a hard decision to take a loan considering how you see your finance in the future.
I’m not convincing anyone to get themselves into it but it’s not a burden neither to share. It’s up to the person to make his own choice and you have your right to make your own assumptions.
While I know the great benefice of being vigilant and apply it as much as possible on my daily life thank you for advising me to be vigilant.

Online school doesn’t apply to everyone for sure and neither for a traditional one. The most important is to find your own path to success making plan and act accordingly.

Success isn’t born from success

Thank you


Jamie October 30, 2017 at 9:57 am


Here is YOUR exact “salutation”:

“Dear Fellow Asylum seekers or already Granted or anyone else:”

I was simply saying that this doesn’t apply to asylees, but may well in fact apply to asylum applicants. In addition, I was telling people to be wary of online colleges and the amount of legitimacy online colleges have/don’t have.

Jason Dzubow October 27, 2017 at 5:11 pm

I think it is important to be vigilant, but this particular university seems to be alright. But of course, it is best to look closely before starting such a program, to make sure it is legitimate and a good choice. Thank you, Jason


ishan October 26, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Thank you for your guidance all the time Jayson. I recently received my GC after waiting more than a year. I Want to visit my family in Kuwait to take my father to one of the hospitals there for treatment. Kuwait does not accept RTD. I was told if I renew and use my country’s passport I’ll be in deep trouble returning. I’m so stressed as he is not feeling well , I can not go back to my Country and we can not afford any other country. Will treatment of my father and the fact that Kuwait does not accept RTD will not be enough evidence to show port of entry agents reason I used my country’s Passport?
Please guide me,I’m crying while writing this to you. People in my shoes know what I am going through


Jason Dzubow October 26, 2017 at 5:51 pm

We have had clients travel with their passport and not have any trouble. I would have the RTD anyway, as it will help you re-enter the US (but you can travel only with the GC and your passport). It is possible that using your passport will cause trouble for you, so you should have evidence about why you are using it – evidence of father’s illness, that Kuwait does not accept RTD, and – if you do not fear your home government but instead fear terrorists in your country – evidence that you won your asylum case because the government could not protect you (as opposed to fear of harm by the government itself, since you are using a government passport). If you have that, you will most likely be alright. There is no guarantee, but it seems to me that the likelihood of a problem is not high. Keep in mind that you might return safely but later have trouble when you apply for citizenship – so keep all the evidence mentioned above in case you are ever questioned about why you traveled on your passport. Take care,


Tekin October 25, 2017 at 1:01 pm


It’s a great article. I learned a lot from it, and I really hope government staff learn something as well.


Jason Dzubow October 25, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Thank you. They haven’t taken any of my suggestions yet, but you never know. Take care, Jason


BG October 25, 2017 at 11:00 am

Your point is very strong. I’m one of the asylum seekers in limbo, but fortunately enough I can afford to see a therapist to somewhat alleviate my stress and anxiety.
Trump signed an EO last night suspending the refugee program for citizens of 11 countries.
Do you anticipate any effect on the asylum process after this decision? Especially those from the affected countries?
It’s been over a month since my asylum interview.


Jason Dzubow October 25, 2017 at 5:45 pm

I think the EO just makes it more difficult for people from the 11 countries; it does not block them (though that may be the actual effect). In any case, I do not think that EO will affect asylum seekers. Take care, Jason


Sara October 30, 2017 at 2:28 am

Thanks a lot, Celia ?


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