Whether victims of religious persecution, torture survivors, pro-democracy activists fleeing a repressive regime, or others who fear persecution in their native countries, those who flee to the United States arrive with the belief that they have finally reached a place where they will be safe. For those who seek asylum at U.S. borders and airports, the welcome they receive routinely includes handcuffs and detention.
The hurdles facing asylum seekers are insurmountable to many, including summary “expedited removal” procedures, detention, and lack of government-funded legal representation. Applicants must present their cases, often despite language barriers and without understanding the laws or procedures that apply to their cases. Should they lose, some will be removed to a country where they may face persecution, even death. The BKC’s asylum project provides much-needed assistance to those fearing persecution based on race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.