Asylum seekers continue to face legal hurdles in their pursuit of safety here in the U.S., and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program (HIRC) has been busy working on litigation to protect their rights. Within the first month of 2020, HIRC submitted two amicus briefs regarding immigration and asylum law.
The first brief, submitted to the Board of Immigration Appeals, addresses the cognizability of “Salvadoran women” as a particular social group. In the brief, HIRC argues that gender is an immutable characteristic and highlights both Matter of A-B- and Matter of Acosta. You can read the full brief here.
The second brief, submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, addresses the expedited removal of asylum seekers. The brief was filed in support of Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, a Tamil who faced severe persecution due to his political beliefs. The brief argues that bona fide asylum seekers, such as Mr. Thuraissigiam, should be afforded judicial review of expedited removal orders, given the flawed credible fear interview process and the risks of border officials and asylum officers improperly screening out persons with legitimate fears of return to persecution or torture. You can read the full brief here. The Supreme Court will be hearing the case on March 2, 2020 and a decision is expected this term.