The End of Asylum

Georgetown Univ. May 2021. 224p. ISBN 9781647121075. $22.95. LAW
In this exploration of American asylum law and practice, Schoenholtz (Georgetown Univ. Law Ctr.), Jaya Ramji-Nogales (Temple Univ. Beasley Sch. of Law), and Philip G. Schrag (Georgetown Univ. Law Ctr.) argue that U.S. humanitarian asylum must be restored. They open by discussing how in 1939 the United States refused entry to Jewish refugees fleeing Germany, and move through the refugee crisis following U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975. That history introduces the Refugee Act of 1980 as the foundation of U.S. asylum law, as it established for the first time clearly defined provisions for refugee entry and residence. Under those provisions, with ups and downs through the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations, the United States protected and settled some three million refugees with a path to citizenship. Then the Trump administration began in 2018 to undermine the law’s substance and to dismantle its asylum process, the authors write. Their detailed remedies urge prompt executive and legislative action to end Trump policies, to limit administrative discretion, and provide for a transparent asylum process with substantive standards under judicial control.
VERDICT This accessible primer on the history and law of U.S. asylum policy and practice provides novices and experts alike analysis and advocacy for understanding how and where the United States has fallen and how it may rise again as a beacon of liberty for refugees.
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