Gender-based Persecution and US Asylum Policy

Samuel Jack Chaffin


Over the past decades, gender-based persecution has moved into the forefront of immigration policy debate in the US. Beginning in the 1980s, recognition of the special circumstances women refugees face has slowly dawned on policy-makers and academics alike. The discussion of women refugees’ rights comes at a pivotal historical moment in US history; women now make up the majority of refugees, but restrictions have become stricter since 9/11. The current process, designed with the standard of the male refugee in mind, adds extra difficulties for female refugees making their asylum claims and disproportionately penalizes them for an array of reasons. Recent court cases indicate indecision among US justices about whether or not gender-based persecution constitutes legitimate grounds for admittance. The international implications of progressive policy change show the potential for both negative political consequences and positive human rights contributions on a global scale. To remedy the current stalemate in the fight to include gender-based persecution in asylum law, the United States could look to Canada for a progressive model applied to a similar legal system.


Immigration Policy

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