Refugee policy and law have developed largely in an ad hoc manner, as the nation has responded to crises around the world with both altruism and political self-interest. Against the foreground of refugee and asylum claims by unfortunate individuals there has been an unending struggle among the three branches of the United States government to make the rules for handling these claims. Part II discusses the way refugee policy became a weapon in the Cold War and the formal abandonment of that approach with the adoption of the 1980 Refugee Act. Part III contains an analysis of the claims of individuals fleeing authoritarian regimes friendly to the United States; the interplay of political and humanitarian factors in the case of El Salvador; and an inquiry into the reasons why individuals become refugees. Part IV focuses on the statutes and regulations that govern the withholding of deportation and the granting of asylum; it touches on the inherent conflict between foreign policy dealing with state-to-state relations and individual claims of persecution, the judiciary's power to review decisions of the State Department and the INS, and the current debate in Congress over new legislation on illegal immigration and asylum procedures. Part V concerns the specific rights and privileges afforded the beneficiaries of United States refugee law and the proposed solutions devised to permit several hundred thousand Cubans and Haitians to remain in the United States without recognizing their persecution claims. This part also discusses two important cases that have placed limits on the power of the INS to treat potential asylum applicants in summary fashion. The conclusion suggests that although there may be costs involved in limiting governmental discretion to deal with refuge-seekers in the most expedient fashion, the best long-range resolution to the debate now underway is to allow the parties to it to continue exploring the American commitment to providing a haven for refugees in a changing world.
Note, 32 Clev. St. L. Rev. 117 (1983-1984)