Colombian Asylum Seekers: What Practitioners Should Know About the Colombian Crisis
25 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2011 Last revised: 18 Apr 2012
Date Written: 2004
The decades-long internal armed conflict in Colombia has created a mass migration of Colombian nationals from all levels of Colombian society to flee to the United States in search of political asylum and a chance to start new lives. Many asylum seekers have been subjected to unspeakable abuse and persecution by illegal armed groups and political movements that employ violence to assert power over citizens. The government has been largely unable to protect many people caught up in political turmoil, in part due institutional corruption and the effects of Colombia being a weak state in terms of its government institutions and inability to protect the constitutional and human rights of all Colombian citizens. While many asylum seekers have legitimate claims for asylum in the United States, at the same time, some Colombians seek to misuse asylum protections as a way to gain entry into the United States. The author suggests that a “formula” circulates throughout the Colombian immigrant community for unscrupulous individuals to follow to make claims for asylum for which they are not entitled. This article examines real claims for asylum and how some Colombians rely on the naiveté of American lawyers and judges to juice the system and gain asylum under false and manufactured pretenses. The article weaves a cautionary tale for what immigration lawyers should know about what is really happening in Colombia and what warning signs they should look for in determining the veracity of Colombian asylum claims.
Keywords: Colombia, immigration, armed conflict, asylum, immigration lawyers
JEL Classification: K10, K19, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation