Fall 2016 Course Schedule

Asylum & Refugee Law (LAW-656-001)

Meets: 09:00 AM - 11:40 AM (W) - Warren - Room N105

Enrolled: 17 / Limit: 23

Administrator Access


There are no notices at this time.


This course will supplement your education in the immigration and nationality discipline by focusing on law relating to persons coming to the United States after fleeing persecution in their home countries. Asylum law is based on a complex statutory framework, nuanced administrative and judicial case law, and international obligations. When litigating an asylum matter in court or before an agency, a practitioner must become familiar not only with the claim itself, but the context from which the claim arises. The asylum subspecialty offers the unique opportunity to examine issues arising from geographically distinct regions of the world, research varied treatment of these claims among the agency and federal circuits, and to reach the truth of the reasons that compel individuals to escape their homeland and seek refuge in the United States.

Individuals genuinely claiming asylum have uprooted their entire lives on the gamble that their claim will fit neatly into our legal paradigm. Individuals falsely claiming asylum may do so because their claims otherwise render them ineligible for the benefit, or may do so for some less innocuous reasons. Whatever your role in this process, your advocacy in an asylum-seeker’s case could present life-altering results the likes of which demands zealous, competent, and ethical administration of the law.

This course will explore the statutes, regulations, and case law that make up the substantive U.S. asylum law framework. The course will define asylees, refugees, persecution, and the elements of an asylum claim, to include the evolving nexuses and asylum bars. The course will further provide a backdrop for asylum claims by analyzing some common bases for individuals’ fear of return. You will also become familiar with the asylum process before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), and the federal courts. This same treatment will be given to the analogous applications of withholding of removal and protection under Article III of the United Nations’ Convention Against Torture (CAT).

The conclusion of this course will equip you with the tools and resources necessary to litigate any asylum, withholding of removal, or CAT case regardless of the nature of the claim or the origin country.

Textbooks and Other Materials

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First Class Readings

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