Asylum & Refugee Law (LAW-656-001)
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This course will focus on U.S. asylum law and procedure. Students will be able to trace the history and development of the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, the 1967 Protocol, and the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980. They will explore the statutory, regulatory, and case law framework of U.S. asylum law and examine in detail the legal definition of the term “refugee,” as well as all of the elements required to secure asylum and refugee protection in the United States.
Students will also become familiar with the procedures for seeking refugee resettlement and asylum, involving key actors such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), and the federal courts.
Students will appreciate the political and humanitarian factors that motivate asylum law in the United States and will gain an understanding of the unique barriers faced by asylum applicants.
Textbooks and Other Materials
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The majority of the assigned reading is from the casebook, REFUGEE LAW AND POLICY: A COMPARATIVE AND INTERNATIONAL APPROACH (5th edition) by Musalo, Moore, Boswell, and Daher. In light of the ongoing developments in refugee law, I will often be revising the reading, and making substitute readings available on Canvas.
First Class Readings
Washington Post, 1/29/2017, A ship full of refugees fleeing the Nazis once begged the U.S. for entry. They were turned back.
University of Michigan, The Story of Raoul Wallenberg: Budapest and Heroism
Musalo, Evolution of Refugee and Asylum Law in the United States, p. 1-4
Washington Post, 1/26/18, When Death Awaits Deported Asylum Seekers
Vox, 11/5/2019, The Demise of America’s Asylum System Under Trump, explained
Women’s Refugee Commission, 10/4/2021, The Latest: Changes to the Asylum System Under the Biden Administration
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