Curriculum Guide · Courses
Refugee Law and Policy
J.D. Course 440 (cross-listed) | 2 credit hours
This course examines international and domestic refugee law and policy, with a strong emphasis on the adjudication of asylum claims in the U.S. Immigration Court system. This participatory class highlights practical applications of international refugee concepts to the U.S. legal system, with particular focus on refugee-related claims in U.S. Immigration Court. We will learn as a group through focused dialogue, persuasion, issue identification, and concise, well-organized writing on the take-home final examination. After looking at the nature of forced migration, the course concentrates on the origins of modern refugee law, the institutional framework for refugee protection in the U.S., and the history of U.S. refugee policy. We will examine the definition of "refugee" in international conventions and under U.S. law, with emphasis on such topics as: What constitutes persecution? What forms of persecution support an asylum claim? What conduct renders an applicant ineligible for asylum? How does fraud affect the asylum system? How are persons fleeing violence (rather than persecution) treated? We will also discuss procedures for adjudicating asylum claims, rights of asylum seekers, detention, temporary protection for those fleeing civil wars or natural disasters, and the toughest issues facing judges, other asylum adjudicators, and policy makers at all levels of the U.S. system. We will consider asylum claims based on gender and domestic violence. Beyond the substantial normal class work, this course requires students to observe 4-6 hours of refugee-related hearings (during normal business hours) at the U.S. Immigration Court in Arlington, Virginia (Crystal City Metro stop).
Priority is given to students fulfilling the requirements of the Certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies.