Immigration Law

These Jurisdictions Have Become ‘Asylum Free Zones’

John Washington, The Nation, Jan. 17, 2017 - " If you’re scared for your life, persecuted because of your religion or your politics; if you’ve been a victim of torture at the hands of your government; if you have been repeatedly abused or raped by your spouse, and you’re seeking refuge in a land of the free, don’t go to Atlanta. Don’t go to Charlotte, either. Nor will you be likely to find safe harbor in Houston, Dallas, Omaha, or Las Vegas.  According to a petition filed before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in December by various immigration attorneys and law clinics, those American cities, which oversee immigration jurisdictions that cover large swathes of southern and western states, including parts of both Carolinas, Georgia, Nebraska, Nevada and Texas, have effectively become “asylum free zones,” where “asylum seekers are systematically denied protection,” regardless of the dangers they’re fleeing. According to David Baluarte, Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University, and Director of Immigrant Rights Clinic, the judges’ actions in these Asylum Free Zones are not just an abrogation of our country’s moral duty to take in those fleeing for their lives—they also constitute a “violation of international human rights obligations.”