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.
Unlike those born in any other United States territory, American Samoans are saddled with the ambiguous legal status of “nationals, but not citizens, of the United States.” American Samoans have repeatedly sued, arguing that they are entitled to birthright citizenship. However, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the Tenth Circuit have denied their claims, relying on the Insular Cases, a series of early twentieth century Supreme Court decisions dealing with territories acquired as a result of the Spanish-American War. Nonetheless, the modern Court has repeatedly expressed its reluctance to extend the logic of the Insular Cases because of their racist underpinnings. This Contribution argues for the Court to overturn the Insular Cases and grant American Samoans birthright citizenship.
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. In this Contribution, Claire Lisker (’23) 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.
Crimmigration is the intersection of immigration law and criminal law. At this intersection, officials are widening the net of deportable offenses at an alarming rate to make immigrants more susceptible to removal. The “crime involving moral turpitude” provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act has been one means by which officials have arbitrarily expanded the reasons why a person may be deported out of the United States. But is the moral turpitude provision in 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act—used to justify deporting “criminal aliens,” including lawful permanent residents—void for vagueness pursuant to the Fifth Amendment? In this Contribution, Kameron Johnston (’21) argues that the recent Supreme Court decisions Johnson v. United States and Sessions v. Dimaya require that the exacting vagueness test used in criminal contexts be applied to immigration law as well. Finally, this Contribution demonstrates that the moral turpitude provision has provoked unpredictability and judicial confusion that simply cannot be reconciled with the fair notice and enforcement standards that due process demands.
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.
Do passports and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad constitute conclusive proof of U.S. citizenship such that the State Department’s revocation of these documents is not impermissibly retroactive? Sonya Chung (’17) and Zi Lin (’17) examine this question, based on their experience as writers of the problem for the New York University School of Law 2016 Immigration Law Competition. Their Contribution discusses the state of the law surrounding passports and CRBAs as evidence of citizenship and their revocability. The Contribution argues that courts should allow individuals to use these documents as conclusive proof of citizenship and that the State Department’s power to correct its own errors should be circumscribed carefully in cases where there has been extended reliance on citizenship rights.