Monday, April 19, 2021
From the Bookshelves: The End of Asylum by By Andrew I. Schoenholtz, Jaya Ramji-Nogales, and Philip G. Schrag
The Trump administration's war on asylum and what Congress and the Biden administration can do about it
Donald Trump's 2016 campaign centered around immigration issues such as his promise to build a border wall separating the US and Mexico. While he never built a physical wall, he did erect a legal one. Over the past three years, the Trump administration has put forth regulations, policies, and practices all designed to end opportunities for asylum seekers. If left unchecked, these policies will effectually lead to the end of asylum, turning the United States—once a global leader in refugee aid—into a country with one of the most restrictive asylum systems.
In The End of Asylum, three experts in immigration law offer a comprehensive examination of the rise and demise of the US asylum system. Beginning with the Refugee Act of 1980, they describe how Congress adopted a definition of refugee based on the UN Refugee Convention and prescribed equitable and transparent procedures for a uniform asylum process. The authors then chart the evolution of this process, showing how Republican and Democratic administrations and Congresses tweaked the asylum system but maintained it as a means of protecting victims of persecution—until the Trump administration. By expanding his executive reach, twisting obscure provisions in the law, undermining past precedents, and creating additional obstacles for asylum seekers, Trump's policies have effectively ended asylum. The book concludes with a roadmap and a call to action for the Biden administration and Congress to repair and reform the US asylum system.
This eye-opening work reveals the extent to which the Trump administration has dismantled fundamental American ideals of freedom from persecution and shows us what we can do about it.
Andrew I. Schoenholtz is a professor from practice at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he is the codirector of the asylum clinic, the Center for Applied Legal Studies. He is also the director of the Human Rights Institute and the Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. He is the former deputy director of the US Commission on Immigration Reform. His publications focus especially on the Refugee Convention and the US asylum system.
Jaya Ramji-Nogales is the associate dean for academic affairs and I. Herman Stern Research Professor at Temple University's Beasley School of Law, where she teaches refugee law and policy and created, along with her students, the Temple Law Asylum Project. In addition to two books presenting empirical studies of the US asylum system coauthored with Schoenholtz and Schrag, she has published extensively on international refugee law and global migration law.
Philip G. Schrag is the Delaney Family Professor of Public Interest Law at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches professional responsibility as well as codirecting the asylum clinic. He is the author of sixteen previous books and dozens of articles on asylum adjudication, legal ethics, nuclear arms control, consumer protection, legal education, and other topics of public law. During the Carter administration he was the deputy general counsel of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.