Country Conditions in Central America and Asylum Decision-Making: Report from a January 2017 Workshop
37 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2017 Last revised: 6 Nov 2017
Date Written: April 1, 2017
In recent years, cases involving Central American migrants, including unaccompanied children (UACs) and families, have inundated the U.S. immigration system. Many of these migrants have expressed a fear of persecution and have applied for asylum, initiating a resource and time-intensive adjudication process with high stakes. Since many of these claims rely on non-legal expertise – often relating to country conditions and/or mental health assessments – the influx of cases presents new opportunities for collaboration between social scientists and legal scholars. In order to foster the collaboration that could inform the equitable adjudication of these cases, a cross-disciplinary team at American University convened an international group of researchers and practitioners with expertise across three areas: 1) country conditions in Central America; 2) psychological assessment of asylum seekers; and 3) asylum adjudication and evolving jurisprudence on asylum law in the U.S. The workshop had multiple goals, including the development of cross-disciplinary professional networks, the articulation of plans for future research, and the identification of other collaborative efforts seeking to address challenges in asylum adjudication.
Keywords: Central America, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, asylum and refugee law, country conditions
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