By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

April 24, 2013

 JERSEY CITY, NJ — In the wake of the recent tragedy in Boston, lawmakers are now focusing on an immigration overhaul that is tied to national security.

As the debate on the draft immigration reform continues, lessons from Boston are considered because the suspected terrorist-brothers came to America as immigrants who obtained asylum ten years ago.

Filipino John Briones has also sought asylum in the country.

Briones, who is openly-gay, claimed that he was a witness to a gruesome murder in the Philippines nearly 20 years ago. He claimed that the alleged killer had seen and recognized him.

“I fear on my part is my family is known in our province,” said Briones. “Even if I get to Manila, the killer will really seek me out because I know he is still at large.”

Herbert Tan, Briones’ legal counsel said his client’s case is two-fold.

“There are two aspects to his case, sexual orientation and the witnessing to the murder,” Tan said. “On his orientation, should he be returned to the Philippines, based upon our culture, he would be in immediate harm should he return.”

The asylum Briones sought based on sexual orientation is pending while it is being authenticated by the US Embassy in Manila.

Tan said Briones will then go to trial in the next few months.

“One of the benefits of asylum is, once you actually apply, after certain period of time, you are actually authorized to work,” said Tan.

Briones’ case will go to trial and the court will have to determine if there is enough basis of fear from prosecution in the Philippines.

“Asylum fraud is a serious problem. Courts are clogged with asylum cases and it is no secret that terrorists are trying to exploit this system,” said Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano added that the asylum process has improved in recent years. She said asylum seekers are thoroughly interviewed, vetted, run through database; finger printed and vetted again when they become eligible for Green Card and eventually citizenship.

And in the wake of the tragedy allegedly perpetrated by the 2 immigrants, Napolitano said, the new immigration bill would build on that improved process even more.

“We will learn lessons from this attack,” Napolitano said.

Contact Don Tagala at for more information.

14 Comments on this post.

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  • Delia
    24 April 2013 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    (We will learn lessons from this attack,” Napolitano said) I say its a little too late , by the way is that all you can come up with ? Lesson to be learn Geeeeesh ?
    Me Thinks , The illegals and terrorists are job secuirty for worthless Home Security and more worthless DOJ.

  • kikayPang0
    24 April 2013 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    We all knew Briones story is fabricated, he’s just another illegal immigrant trying to manipulate the system. Deport him so he can reunite to his first love ….. His beauty parlor equipped with antique noisy electric fan .

  • noz
    24 April 2013 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    if you are or were taken for a ride by napolitano’s double face talks, then you all believe it does snows in the bahamas. obama has a proven track record of abusing executive order by trashing the immigration laws, commanding the border patrols/ICE to not arrest illegal aliens, less restrictive to detained illegal alien, priority of freeing detained illegal aliens. obama voted in power gets away with his ugly intent not to enforce the INS laws, so what made you all think, this time the INS laws in transition of reform will be enforced by obama. the fake posturing of obama to impress by verbalizing he is in accord of the INS reform laws authored bipartisan by the gang of eight, ready to sign them once it land on his desk, then you all are again taken for a ride with obama’s double face talks. americans must seriously think, if obama have never ever enforced the INS laws ever since he sat in the oval office, so what made you all think he will enforce the INS reform laws this time. if push come to shove, obama’s ideologue will prevail by choosing, cherry picking segments of the lNS reform laws best suited for his lefty party. remember the INS reform laws can solely be enforced by the federal government, the root of the problem, since government have not done a good job of enforcing the INS laws. obama has the worst record of not enforcing the INS laws, point blank have violated the rule of laws. the INS reform laws badly needed amendments to give the power to the states to enforce the INS reform laws, outlaw the federal government to solely enforce the INS laws will benefit the USA.

  • noz
    24 April 2013 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    the asylum case of this gay man claiming at 100% sure will be murdered, if he return to his country of origin is too preposterous. the story is too shallow, for the fact there are likely tons of people in the world have the same story of predicaments. to survive the threat, people simply have arm themselves to neutralize the enemy. if this gay man gets granted the asylum for such a trivial, highly questionable common scenario, the INS have set a precedence subject for abuse on any given similar asylum cases. the USA will end up as a dumping ground for con men/women via asylum cases, laughing all the way to the hood.

  • av
    25 April 2013 at 8:07 am - Reply

    Immigration Reform is really needed here in The United States of America, the system is badly full of flaws. Enforcing a flawed system is as just bad as using a beat up car where you know it’s only going to take you as far as it possibly can. Enforce the immigration law? Where is the law? Where is the enforcement? Enforcing an outdated law will lead to more illegal immigration !

  • noz
    25 April 2013 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    the lNS laws already in the book > the illegal aliens with expired visas, the illegal aliens border crossers, the legal residents committed crimes of felonies are subject for deportations. immigration laws have been revised, reformed since the 18th century, without changing the existing INS laws. the reforms such as the naturalization act of 1790 restricted naturalization to white persons of good moral character. the 19th century, 14th amendment of 1868 persons born or naturalized are citizens of the US and the state of their residence, etc, down to most recent, the 21st century, the real ID act of 2005 of visa limits, tighten restrictions on asylum applications, exclude suspected terrorists, removed restrictions on building border fences. the political powers on both sides of the single aisle were guilty of negligence to enforce the INS laws. the difference is, obama’s worst actions of blunt orders to border patrols/ICE not to follow the INS laws, without public outraged response. if the INS laws were and are consistently followed/enforced by the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, the POTUS IN PARTICULAR, america would have not accumulated 11 million illegal aliens. the INS expert watchers argued, there are over 20 million illegal aliens in the USA.

  • noz
    25 April 2013 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    the INS laws in black/white are straight forward, not flawed, can only be legally enforced by the seating president, aka the federal level. historically seated presidents of both parties have not done their jobs to oversee the INS laws were enforced, calculating if illegal immigration gets out of hand, out of control, the word amnesty was the alternative choice, passing too many amnesties in the 80’s did not end, solved illegal immigration. this is now the mess americans are in, the mess in the making for decades. the lawmaker politicians voted in powers past and present are flawed and irresponsible, who ignored, too inundated, willfully violated the rule of laws. these lawmaker politicians can write, re-write all the revisions, all the reforms of the INS laws, then let the INS reform law books sit in a corner to collect dusts without effective implementations and follow ups to measure success by the elected, reelected leaders are recipes for shamefully failing this great nation and its people.

    • Delia
      26 April 2013 at 10:49 am - Reply

      Huges Consequences. This country s going down, economically, socially, culturally and militarily. Our national debt is projected to reach 20 trillion by 2016. The country is bitterly divided along political, race, class, religious and gender lines. Everyone hates everyone. Our so-called president is the greatest divider in history. What will happen with 20 million foreigners, first, becoming our neighbors; then with their spouses and families 40 to 60 million more? And remember, the border is still porous

      Social services. Parents of legalized immigrants are mostly aged, unskilled and in need of government help: subsidid housing; welfare checks; Medicade… The newly legalized immigrants will need medical help in case of epidemic or trauma, at least. although the Bill denied them medical coverage, no one will bleed to death by the curb.

      Screening. What agency will be able to screen 20 million people armed with forged documents that can easily be produced on a black market.

      Timing. As soon as the Amnesty is announced, millions of people will overwhelm the Southern border patrols. The existing fence will be blown away to let people in. A few military divisions will not be able to maintain order.

      Can we deport all the criminal illegal aliens present in the United States today? YES!
      Cut off all welfare (have all welfare recipients re-register at a local office. Have Immigration Officials there to determine everyone’s status).
      Place a felony warrant for all visitors who have failed to leave the country (this allows every Law Enforcement department across the country to arrest them for the warrant if encountered, not for immigration purposes)

      Place Immigration officials at all major airports, train and bus stations…they ask everyone a simple question…”what is your right to be in and remain in the United States legally”? Thus, no profiling charges or complaints.

      Stop federal funding for sanctuary cities/states
      Education. Despite Bill’s restrictions, it is obvious that children of legalized immigrants will attend American school, receive free lunches, etc. Will schools in Hispanics concentration switch to Spanish as a first language?

      Marriages. No government can prevent legal immigrants to marry outside U.S., thus bring back here millions of foreign spouses, real or fictitious.

      Family reunification. Even if this Bill restricts family reunification, who can guarantee that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid (or Chuck Shumer) and Hillary will not annulled restrictions from the “humane” liberal stand?

      The legalizaSharp increase in crime. Mexican drug cartels members; gang members; common criminals will not be identified; this government cannot follow on terrorist on clear hints from Russian authorities.

      Race relations. Already a very sensitive issue it will become significantly worse with a sharp increase in the size of one race (or ethnic group.) What effect will that have on other groups? How the ever smaller pie will be divided between current, even traditional, government dependents and the new applicants? What will happen with our Southern states when their legislatures and Governors push for a certain agenda?

  • av
    26 April 2013 at 5:56 am - Reply

    By the Feds not enforcing the immigration in a timely fashion, thus how the law should be enforced. The immigration law is nothing but a FLAWED law.. The 1986 Immigration Reform indeed solved the illegal immigration or did it? The answer is yes it did then, but it did not stopped illegal immigration in conjunction with Asylum cases, particularly the waves of Filipinos that came while the EDSA revolution is in full speed. This a very welcoming country in turns of immigration, until that doctrine changes, illegal immigration would never completely end.

    • noz
      26 April 2013 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      be specific as to what languages of the laws are flawed. the flawed were and are the voluntary actions of the seating POTUS knowingly refusing actual implementations of the INS laws. no other but the federal government have the power of mandate to follow and apply the languages of the lNS laws, as written, no ifs or buts. the POTUS of both parties, for too many decades were and are guilty of willfully not implementing these INS laws, that’s why the nation accumulated over 20 million illegal aliens, illegally sucking taxpayers of over 33 billion a year. the solution is simple the INS laws must be amended as part of the reform, to have the states carry out the INS laws. AZ argued with the SCOTUS, did win part of the languages of the INS laws for the state of AZ to enforce the INS law itself. to outlaw the power of the federal government as the sole executor of the INS laws, thereby correcting the POTUS blunt irresponsible acts of not following the INS laws for decades. if not, use the power of the other branch of government, house/senate by impeachment of seating president, who do not uphold the INS laws, as an alternative for checks and balances of an irresponsible POTUS, overwhelmed with political self interests, as well as an assurance of following the rule of laws required of job performance from an elected, reelected official, in particular the POTUS true implementations of the INS laws, to maintain order of effective INS services to the public, operated on the rule of laws. america have not stop legal immigration, be it handing out the privilege of permanent or temporary visas to people of the world who passed the litmus test of integrity records, especially the permanent residents are expected will be great contributors as builders to improve, maintain the vitality of the nation’s comfortable living by being hard workers, instead of being hardcore blood suckers, degrading the american livelihood. its the illegal immigration that have gotten out of control caused to built like balloons, that burst many times, because of the poor job of the POTUS. the future might be ugly with the rate of high uncertainty status of the US economy. the general outlook of society are miserable experiencing the degraded american lifestyles without jobs, on government subsidies. currently, america is poor economically with 17 trillion debt rising fast, yet people like yourself is marketing america as the great providers of dough/bacon to impoverished people of the globe. if the lefties continue to rule the country, immigration will self destruct, the same as the fall of the roman empire, history repeating itself. the only sole consolation of this generation is none of us will witness america’s horrible fall. america’s economic ills badly needed resuscitations, otherwise deteriorations will be swift, for this generation to witness the wild fire or strong tornadoes leveling everything on sight to the ground, yes a doomsday will be a very scary day, where people may cry out for conversions of the atheists, rejections of sodom/gomorrah, allow the fetus to live, hopefully its not too late to make all the wrong to right.

      • av
        2 May 2013 at 1:32 pm - Reply

        America fell in 2008, thanks for GW Bush and the dumb government he had. Unfortunately the replacement did no good either and what other people thought might actually help the country rise from a deep financial crisis does not know how to be a politician. Instead Romney tried to win presidency by being a businessman, little did he know, if only he reached out to latinos and minorities and said, promised this and that. He probably would have won…

        • noz
          3 May 2013 at 7:13 pm - Reply

          romney ia not a panderer, he tells what it is on what he sees, his manner of saying is direct to the point, the 47-50% majority are minorities will not vote for him, but he will see to it, all americans will get jobs. contrary to what the majority believed including yourself, the bulk of wealth romney accumulated was his own business strategy, together with skeptic, risk takers investors romney convinced, like the salvadorian families investing their money with bain capital, ending up with more millions in their pockets. talk about romney’s telling it like it is, cannot even be compared to republican governor of maine, this republican governor of maine, no nonsense talk made the republican governor of new jersey sound meek. my point is republican politicians by enlarge are not panderers, but after the 70% hispanics have voted for obama with his immigration push, republicans went into bipartisan to reform INS laws, when in fact the reality is the INS laws is not broken to be reformed, what is broken is the federal government, yes the POTUS is broken is the problem. rubio, at this point tend to be cautious with this INS law reform. obama, the panderer made it worst with his pandering speech tone in mexico, interpreted to be, he is not serious on borders securities received much applause. states run by republican governors are proven to be sustaining and managing on their own on the principle of conservatism, while states run by democrats governors find themselves over budgeted, bankrupt, citizens are over burden with different types of taxes to close budget gaps, that never close. i was a democrat once, until i got the job of giving out government subsidies. for years, i have witness fraud all over the system where money was involved, the lefty government did not care who they give the subsidy assistance to, even if these people are not qualified or fraudsters. i experienced the change at the time, when the conservative government was seated, participants were thoroughly assessed, that taxpayers dollars really went to qualified in need. this experience made me a republican and so as my co-workers. america’s economy was founded on capitalism, not socialism. countries with socialist economic governance have become financially ruin, while communist china with capitalist economy are now the number one lender of the big spender america.

        • noz
          3 May 2013 at 9:31 pm - Reply

          YOU ARE DEAD WRONG, gw bush did not cause america’s economy to fall in 2008. it was the democrats barney frank/chris dobb, supported by predominantly democrats house and senate with their pushed for the sub-prime mortgage, lending to unqualified home buyers with almost no down payments that caused the ripple effect of the great recession, or lesser depression, or long recession, or global recession by 2009, bursting the US housing bubbles which peaked in 2006, caused the values of securities tied to US real estate pricing to deflate, damaging financial institutions globally. what made you think these two dummy democrats frank/dodd went on retirements. the dumb branch of government were the democrats, with gw bush as president, all the distortions of his haters continues by people like you, instead of these far, far lefty liberals barney frank/chris dodd who pushed a very defective, bad economic laws, so as to fulfill the basic american dream of owning a home. BTW, obama is continuing the failed legacy of these two dumb lawmaker politicians, frank/dobb with obama’s push of home modification loans, he extended till 2015, another scheme of obama and the democrats of buying votes for the 2015 election to replace the predominantly republican house.

  • av
    26 April 2013 at 7:19 am - Reply

    Illegal immigration will never end even if the borders becomes completely secured, what about those coming in from other countries that requires a plane ride? the tourists that overstays? The State dept. cannot and will not be able to stop the issuance of tourists visas, hence, the asylum visas. All of these are falls under the immigration law. And I believe the main reason of illegal immigration is the law itself, it allows people from all over the world to attain visas to come here whether for visit, business or study. If only this country could stop immigration of all people from the world, illegal immigration would not be a problem. However, by doing so it will cause chaos and heavy financial burden to this country as there would be no finances coming in from the outside world.