Seventh Circuit Review


The adjudication of asylum applications is of vital importance to refugees seeking safe haven within the United States and is often a matter of life or death. However, in its current term, the Seventh Circuit reversed the asylum decisions of immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals in approximately two-thirds of its published opinions. Many of these reversals can be traced to unsupported subjective assessments performed by immigration judges. Blame may also lie with the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security. Although the Seventh Circuit identified several noticeable and repetitive problems, it is left with few options other than reversal. Congress, on the other hand, recently expanded the scope of subjective immigration judge decisions that can act as the solitary basis for asylum denials. This article examines whether this legislation may compound the problems identified by the Seventh Circuit.

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