Woman Who Sought Asylum Turns Out to be a Fake

Adelaide Abankwah’s request for asylum in the United States made headlines and earned support from politicians such as Hillary Clinton and actors such as Julia Roberts and Vannessa Redgrave. Abankwah claimed she had been chosen “queen mother” of her tribe in Ghana and would be subjected to female genital mutilation if forced to return to that nation. She eventually won her asylum case, but now it turns out her entire story was false.

The woman’s real name is Regina Norman Danson, and she made up the story after being caught trying to enter the United States illegally in 1997. Somehow the real Adelaide Abankwah’s passport ended up in Danson’s hands, and Danson decided to assume the woman’s identity in an effort to stay in the United States. The real Abankwah says she didn’t come forward to dispute Danson because she was fearful of being deported due to unrelated immigration problems.

The Washington Post reported that prosecution of Danson was hindered by bureaucrats who didn’t want to embarrass the Clinton administration officials who had championed her asylum claim.


Hillary’s asylum queen was a fake. The Times (UK), December 21, 2000.

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