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Refugee Reception and Perception: U.S. Detention Camps and German Welcome Centers

39 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2017  

Valeria E. Gomez

Volunteer Immigrant Defense Advocates

Karla Mari McKanders

Vanderbilt University, School of Law

Date Written: March 29, 2017

Abstract

The reception of refugees and asylum seekers has emerged as one of the most critical contemporary global issues. In 2015, the world experienced the most forced migrants since World War II. This essay compares the treatment of asylum seekers at reception in United States and Germany through each countries’ freedom and restriction of movement laws. This comparative analysis is based on Professor Karla McKanders’ December 2015 exploratory trip to Germany to learn more about the processing refugees in the midst of Germany accepting unprecedented numbers of refugees; and attorney Valeria Gomez’s December 2015 volunteer experience in the South Texas Family Residence Center. The article proceeds in four parts. Part I provides an overview of the 1951 Refugee Convention and its application to the rights of asylum seekers in receiving countries at their reception. Part II critically examines United States’ laws and policies for detaining asylum seekers in connection with Valeria Gomez’s volunteering in the South Texas Family Residence Center. Part III takes a contrasting look at Germany’s reception laws for asylum seekers through with McKanders’ exploratory trip to Germany. Part IV compares the two reception models and takes a critical look at (1) the role political, social and historical context play in determining a country’s detention policies? and (2) what the contrasting systems for restricting asylum seekers freedom of movement in Germany and the United States signify regarding presumptions of illegality that underlie detention policies. Finally, the essay suggests increased dialogue and examination of alternate detention models to facilitate the humane treatment of asylum seekers and refugees at reception.

Suggested Citation

Gomez, Valeria E. and McKanders, Karla Mari, Refugee Reception and Perception: U.S. Detention Camps and German Welcome Centers (March 29, 2017). Fordham International Law Journal, Vol. 40(2), No. 4, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2942965

Valeria E. Gomez

Volunteer Immigrant Defense Advocates ( email )

Knoxville, TN
United States

Karla Mari McKanders (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University, School of Law ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-322-3092 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://law.vanderbilt.edu/bio/karla-mckanders

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