This course examines domestic refugee law and policy, with particular focus on asylum and other refugee-related claims for protection that arise in the U.S. legal system. Students will become familiar with the key actors in the asylum and refugee law arena, including the U.S. Congress, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, the federal courts, and international entities.
The course objectives are: (1) to equip students with an understanding of the principles of refugee policy, asylum law, and the United States' procedures for refugee protection, and (2) to provide students with a practical appreciation of how refugee policy is formed and a working knowledge of asylum law, which will serve as a foundation for academic research, clinical study, employment, pro bono work, and/or internship opportunities within the U.S. government and the NGO community.
In addition to focusing on the refugee definition as interpreted by U.S. courts, we will examine the processes for adjudicating asylum claims -- where the system works and where it fails. We will also seek to understand the limits of asylum law and explore the toughest issues facing asylum adjudicators and policy makers today.