Snowden’s asylum case: Be careful what you ask for

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1 Response

  1. Matt says:

    This is very helpful, Jaya. I’ll ask a question and make an observation. First, the question: you make use of the US’s “particular social group” analysis here. Have other countries followed it very much? (Canada, a bit, but about others I don’t know.) I’d be a bit surprised, given what a mess this part of the law is in the US, but I can’t say I know.

    Now, the observation: there is a long history of granting asylum or refugee status to people for “political” reasons, meaning reasons that wouldn’t really qualify under a regular application of the UN Refugee Convention (or the essentially identical US law.) The US itself is a long-time participant in this game. The large majority of Soviet Jews, and probably most of the Cubans, granted refugee status in the US would not have been granted asylum if they would have had to make their cases under the normal rules, as I’m sure you’d agree. That the US has used asylum and refugee law to make political points on a massive scale does not, of course, mean it’s the right thing to do, or tell us what can or should be done here. (I can’t say that I have a firm opinion in this particular case.) But, it should make us unsurprised when similar things happen, or so I’d think.