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Unpublished Paper
Legitimate Persecution: The Effect Of Asylum’s Nexus Clause
ExpressO (2014)
  • Nicholas Bolzman

The United States adopted its first comprehensive asylum law in 1980, after various ad hoc attempts to craft an immigration scheme for those fleeing persecution had limited success. While the 1980 law does correct for many prior problems, it still retains some arbitrary limitations. Specifically, the requirement that applicants show persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion creates significant hurdles for those whose persecution is not disputed, but whose persecutors’ motives are based on something else. Examples are persecution based on gender, FGM, sexual orientation, recruitment as child soldiers, and those persecuted by generally applicable human rights violations. When these applicants do obtain status, it is often the result of a court reinterpreting, bending, or even outright ignoring the statutory asylum requirements. This practice that has led to wildly conflicting results depending on the type of unrecognized persecution. A better solution would be to either reinterpret the law to include a catch-all provision for the persecutor's motive or remove the nexus requirement altogether.

  • asylum law,
  • refugee law
Publication Date
January 30, 2014
Citation Information
Nicholas Bolzman. "Legitimate Persecution: The Effect Of Asylum’s Nexus Clause" ExpressO (2014)
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