Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program

Government and Legal Studies

First Advisor

Angel Saavedra Cisneros


Immigration justice advocates and immigration restrictionists alike are unhappy with the way that the U.S. asylum system functions. This project seeks to develop a better understanding of policy changes and the politicized influence of the president and executive authorities over the asylum system since 9/11—in particular, these individuals’ ability to implement their policy preferences through the hiring and instruction of Asylum Officers and Immigration Judges. Through case studies of nonprofit organizations, it identifies the key points in the asylum process where asylum has been restricted, and the ways in which these restrictions can be responded to. On the basis of these factors, this project identifies four key changes, made by Congress, through which the asylum system could be improved: the establishment of an Article I immigration court, encoded testimonial and credibility standards, universal representation, and an end to asylum seeker detention. These changes are asserted to depoliticize the asylum process and to create a stable asylum system in which those that should qualify for asylum do qualify.