San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



This Article addresses the process for providing asylum to immigrants in the United States. The Article argues that the statutory scheme, enacted as part of the Refugee Act of 1980, is not designed to handle the many thousands of asylum applications filed by foreign nationals who are physically present in the United States without the benefit of lawful immigration status. As a discretionary form of relief, asylum operates as a "backdoor" to regular permanent immigration status in this country. The author attempts to show that the judicial process is not well suited to resolve the remaining issues that fuel asylum debate, and thus she recommends legislative resolution. She offers a reform proposal designed to provide more definitive guidelines about the qualifying criteria for asylum relief that were not defined specifically in the 1980 Congressional enactment.