Asylum's Interpretative Impasse: Interpreting 'Persecution' and 'Particular Social Group' Using International Human Rights Law
44 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2016 Last revised: 3 Mar 2017
Date Written: November 1, 2016
The United States is in the midst of two crises: an overwhelming number of refugees seeking asylum in the United States and an interpretive impasse. Who is a “refugee”? As the Board of Immigration Appeals tightens its interpretation of “refugee” amidst the United States’ latest refugee crisis, practitioners must utilize every available tool at their disposal to advance their client’s asylum claims. This Article guides practitioners on when and how to use international human rights law arguments in emerging types of asylum claims, particularly those of child applicants and those based on domestic violence. To create a holistic picture, this Article considers the following: (1) current interpretations of the definition of “refugee” under United States law, (2) the incorporation of international human rights law in United States domestic law, (3) sources of international human rights law that may aid in advancing interpretative arguments, and (4) how practitioners can effectively use these sources in legal arguments.
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