Exploring New Approaches to Unsettled Legal Questions

Tag: Asylum & Refugee Law National Competition

Immutable Skills: The Validity of Career-Based Asylum Categories

by Nathaniel Brod­sky*

Fed­er­al asy­lum law requires that all “par­tic­u­lar social groups,” the per­se­cut­ed iden­ti­ty upon which an asy­lum claim is based, demon­strate three qual­i­ties: immutabil­i­ty, par­tic­u­lar­i­ty, and social dis­tinc­tion. While courts have his­tor­i­cal­ly reject­ed careers as par­tic­u­lar social groups, since peo­ple can change jobs and that char­ac­ter­is­tic is there­fore not immutable, this Con­tri­bu­tion argues that a more pro­fes­sion­al­ized career—based on the past expe­ri­ence of acquir­ing spe­cial­ized skills—is a valid par­tic­u­lar social group under asy­lum law precedent.

Falsifying a Social Security Number Is Not Morally Turpitudinous

by Claire Lisker*

A con­vic­tion for a “crime involv­ing moral turpi­tude” ren­ders an undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grant inel­i­gi­ble for can­cel­la­tion of removal, a dis­cre­tionary form of relief that the Attor­ney Gen­er­al may grant to indi­vid­u­als who have remained in the Unit­ed States for ten or more years. This Con­tri­bu­tion argues that fal­si­fy­ing a Social Secu­ri­ty num­ber, as crim­i­nal­ized under 42 U.S.C. § 408(a)(7)(B), is not a crime involv­ing moral turpitude.

All Hands on Deck: Preserving the Humanity of Asylum Through Meaningful Judicial Review

by Susan Levin­son*

How can asy­lum appli­cants and their advo­cates safe­guard their rights to a fair, impar­tial con­sid­er­a­tion of their claims when the Board of Immi­gra­tion Appeals has vir­tu­al­ly com­plete dis­cre­tion in its deci­sions? In this Con­tri­bu­tion, Susan Levin­son (’19) argues that the lack of pro­ce­dur­al safe­guards built into the asy­lum process, cou­pled with the Court’s gen­er­al­ly def­er­en­tial, hands-off approach in the immi­gra­tion con­text, deprive vul­ner­a­ble appli­cants of their right under due process to a fair, impar­tial con­sid­er­a­tion of their claims. Ulti­mate­ly, this Con­tri­bu­tion rec­om­mends judi­cial, reg­u­la­to­ry, and leg­isla­tive reforms to pro­tect legit­i­mate asy­lum claims.

“Reliable, Specific, and Objective”: The Scope of Judicial Review of Documentary Evidence in Asylum Decisions

by Deirdre Dlu­goles­ki*

Under what stan­dard should courts of appeals review deci­sions of the Board of Immi­gra­tion Appeals regard­ing sup­port­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion in asy­lum cas­es? In this Con­tri­bu­tion, Deirdre Dlu­goles­ki (’19) explains the role of sup­port­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion entered into evi­dence in asy­lum cas­es by the appli­cant, the gov­ern­ment, and the Immi­gra­tion Judge and the stan­dard for admis­sion. The Con­tri­bu­tion argues that the scope of sub­stan­tial evi­dence review of sup­port­ing doc­u­men­ta­tion should be broad, and that courts play an impor­tant role in hold­ing the BIA account­able for bas­ing its deci­sions on reli­able information.

A Catch-22? The Social Distinction Requirement for Asylum

by Clay Venetis*

Is the Board of Immi­gra­tion Appeals’ (“BIA”) test for deter­min­ing whether an asy­lum-seek­er qual­i­fies as a refugee too restric­tive? Clay Venetis (’17) address­es this ques­tion based on his expe­ri­ence at the Asy­lum and Refugee Law Nation­al Moot Court Com­pe­ti­tion, held at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia Davis School of Law in March 2016. In order to obtain pro­tec­tion from per­se­cu­tion on the basis of their mem­ber­ship in a group not spec­i­fied in the Immi­gra­tion and Nation­al­i­ty Act (“INA”), asy­lum-seek­ers must show that their par­tic­u­lar social group pos­sess­es “soci­etal dis­tinc­tion” — recog­ni­tion by soci­ety in gen­er­al, and not just the alleged gov­ern­ment per­se­cu­tors — in their coun­try of ori­gin. This Con­tri­bu­tion argues that the “soci­etal dis­tinc­tion” require­ment cre­ates a “catch-22” that unfair­ly denies asy­lum to those who deserve it, and urges courts to adopt a more flex­i­ble, case-by-case approach to deter­min­ing whether an indi­vid­ual qual­i­fies for asylum.

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