Ladies and Gentlemen,

Amos Yee Pang Sang, the Singaporean religious hate speech advocate has been granted asylum in the US. See BBC report http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39388810.

Although I am no fan of Singapore, I think the decision to grant asylum was wrong. In the judge's decision he equates Singapore to the United States and connects Yee's charges of religious hurt to his political opinion although there seems to be no direct nexus for this fact. You can read the judge's decision here http://www.grossmanlawllc.com/files/ij-decision_media.pdf

I can fully understand if they granted Chee Soon Juan or Roy Ngerng asylum. They are real cases who have been persecuted for political opinion. But not Yee who pisses on the Holy Bible and the Koran and desecrates religion.

But the ramifications of granting this one case to Yee have serious far reaching and damaging effects for the present Singapore administration. By granting this case what the American court is telling us that all one has to do for US asylum is to insult Christianity, Islam, Jesus Christ or Buddha sufficiently, get arrested which Singapore will most certainly do, spend a few months in the prisons in Singapore Changi and when released take the next flight to Immigration Attorney Sandra Grossman's office to claim asylum in the US.

What will happen is not so much anyone who really dislikes Singapore to go through this procedure for asylum but it will be a great opportunity for young men who do not want to do national service in Singapore to pretend to be political opponents and religion haters to breeze their way to the United States. One of the major problems for already tiny Singapore with an even tinier population is the almost universal dislike of performing national service. Remember the United States like England follows the doctrine of "stare decisis" which means prior decisions have a persuasive effect on future cases. Therefore any future judge hearing a similar case from Singapore would be hard pressed to deny asylum when Yee's was granted.

Yee has managed to drive a huge gap for young Singaporeans wanting to move to the USA. Perhaps you could call it "the Amos Gap".

I remember a similar kind of case in England from my law studies. Before the 1960s any Commonwealth citizen could come to live in England without visas. Suddenly in the 1960s they passed the Commonwealth Immigrants Act which required such citizens to acquire entry permits. The law specifically read that anyone "arriving at a port of entry in the UK is subject to immigration and customs control". Bhagwan was an Indian illegal immigrant who came in a small boat and landed on a lonely beach in England (Reg. v. Bhagwan [1972] A.C. 60; [1970] 3 W.L.R. 501; [1970] 3 All E.R. 97, H.L.(E.). He was arrested and placed under removal proceedings. But the judge dismissed the charges since only those who "arrived at a port of entry" are subject to inspection. Since Bhargwan arrived at a lonely beach he committed no offence. When news of this judgement had broken out hundreds if not thousands of illegal immigrants landed on lonely beaches in England in what became known as the "Bhagwan Gap". Almost within 24 hours the House of Commons went into emergency session to plug the loophole!

Gopalan Nair
Attorney at Law
Fremont San Francisco California
Tel: 510 491 8525
Email: nair.gopalan@yahoo.com