2020

4. February, 2020

POLITICAL ASYLUM DECEPTIONS

 by Carol Bohmer, Visiting Scholar in the Government Department at Dartmouth College, and a Teaching Fellow at King’s College, London

Abstract

In the current discourse of asylum, there is a sense that asylum seekers are imposters.  Are they economic migrants, opportunists, terrorists, or people who don’t fit current asylum categories? The vetting process has become infused with a climate of suspicion that not only assesses the credibility of an applicant’s story and differentiates between the economic migrant and the person fleeing persecution, but also attempts to determine whether an applicant represents a future threat to the receiving country.  Based on a recent book, Political Asylum Deceptions, written with Amy Shuman, I will provide an account of the varieties of deception used in the political asylum system.  I will discuss the increased demand for evidence, uses of new technologies to examine applicants’ narratives, assessments of forged documents, attempts to differentiate between victims and persecutors, and ways that cultural misunderstandings can compromise the process.

About the speaker

Carol Bohmer, a lawyer and sociologist, is a Visiting Scholar in the Government Department at Dartmouth College, and a Teaching Fellow at King’s College, London.  She has worked in the area of law and society, examining the way legal and social institutions interact.  Her current research interests are in the field of migration and asylum.  She is the co-author with Amy Shuman of Rejecting Refugees: Political Asylum in the 21st Century, (2007) and Political Asylum Deceptions: The Culture of Suspicion, (2018), and a number of articles on migration issues.