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Many people mistakenly believe that asylum seekers have a right to apply for asylum in the United States.
The first paragraph in the Immigration and Nationality Act’s (INA) asylum provisions provides that aliens physically present in the United States “may” apply for asylum.
But the second paragraph provides the following three exceptions, and asylum may be denied on the basis of disqualifying conduct, such as having been convicted of a particularly serious crime.
  • Safe third country. – Asylum is not available to an alien who can be sent pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement to a country where he will not be persecuted, other than the country of the alien's nationality; and where he will have access to a full and fair procedure for determining an asylum claim or equivalent protection. An exception is permitted when it is in the public interest for the alien to receive asylum in the United States.
  • Time limit. – An alien has to file his asylum application within one year after the date of his arrival in the United States unless he can show a change in circumstances.
  • Previous asylum applications. – Asylum is not available to an alien who has filed a previous application that was denied, unless he can show a change in circumstances.
The third paragraph says no court shall have jurisdiction to review any determination on the exceptions.
Read more at https://thehill.com/opinion/immigrat...m-applications
Published originally on The Hill.
Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years