Jeanette L. Schroeder
Jeanette L. Schroeder, The Vulnerability of Asylum Adjudications to Subconscious Cultural Biases: Demanding American Narrative Norms, 97 Boston University Law Review 315-348 , (January, 2017) (Student Note)( 248 Footnotes Omitted)(Full Article)
Due to the substantial obstacles that asylum applicants face in obtaining corroborating evidence of persecution as well as the vague statutory guidelines for evaluating the credibility of their testimony when such documentation is unavailable, credibility determinations in asylum adjudications are often highly subjective. As a result, such determinations are particularly susceptible to immigration judges' subconscious cultural biases, including biases resulting from varying cultural perspectives regarding: (1) the intrinsic value of time; (2) whether time is linear or circular; (3) the extent to which communication should be explicit or implicit; and (4) observational tendencies. Such implicit cultural biases likely contribute to the widely varying asylum grant rates both between and within immigration courts across the country. Additionally, they have resulted in a body of case law interpreting the INA's statutory guidelines on asylum credibility determinations often to make strict demands regarding the form and content of “credible” testimony.
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