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The American Prospect
June 9, 2017

Rolling the Dice on Deportation
By Manuel Madrid

The United States has its own complex immigration and refugee laws, but also adheres to international asylum laws that were ratified by the United Nations in 1951. To qualify for asylum individuals must prove that they are being persecuted because of their religion, nationality, ethnicity, social group, or political beliefs. Those categories do not cover many of the reasons why asylum seekers flee their homelands today. “The definition of refugee was basically created by white men for white men,” says Jason Dzubow, a Washington, D.C., immigration lawyer. “The [United Nations] treaties weren’t meant to cover LGBTQ people, women who suffer from domestic violence, or those forced to flee because of crime or violence.” Dzubow says that this situation has forced lawyers and judges into uncharted territory, debating who should and who should not be considered part of a persecuted class in the nation’s 54 immigration courts. Determining who qualifies for asylum requires considerable work by immigration judges who have huge caseloads and anemic resources at their disposal. At the end of April, there was a nationwide backlog of more than half-a-million immigration cases, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse—an all-time high.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
Copyright 2017
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