Monday, January 13, 2014
Immigration Article of the Day: Gang and Cartel Violence: A Reason to Grant Political Asylum from Mexico and Central America by Jillian Nicole Blake
Gang and Cartel Violence: A Reason to Grant Political Asylum from Mexico and Central America by Jillian Nicole Blake, 38 Yale Journal of International Law Online 31 (2012) Abstract: This Essay argues that the United States should view migrants fleeing violence in Mexico and Central America as refugees. This Essay will describe the nature of the threat from gangs and cartels, present the major arguments for granting gang-based asylum under international refugee law, and describe how the U.S. courts and government have interpreted those arguments. The final section of this Essay will offer an interpretation of refugee law that both bridges the gap between traditional interpretations of the Refugee Convention and also addresses a pressing need to adapt its original meaning to present-day conflicts in Latin America. This approach will establish a multifactor test for recognizing gang-based political asylum, including: the level of violence, the probability of harm, the state’s degree of sovereign control over its territory, the existence of a political conflict between the state and a nonstate actor, the asylum-seeker’s opposition to a political element, and the level of state protection. The test elements are drawn from a state’s obligations under international refugee law, combining political asylum, human rights, generalized violence, and non-refoulement principles.