Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Misha Seay


This note critiques the filing deadline for asylum applications in the United States by comparing it to relevant international standards and the practices of other countries. It first looks to international treaties governing asylum procedures and the obligations of the U.S. under international law. It then compares the asylum procedures of three countries that admit similarly large numbers of refugees - Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom - and discusses the filing deadlines, if any, that they impose on asylum applications in their respective countries. Finally, this note examines the U.S.'s filing deadline for asylum applications (the one-year bar) and the difficulties this deadline presents for asylum seekers in the U.S. The note concludes that the one-year bar violates the U.S.'s treaty obligations and is out of step with common practices of other countries. It also concludes that the one-year bar is both unfair and unreasonable and prevents otherwise eligible refugees from obtaining asylum in the U.S., particularly impoverished asylum seekers. With the possibility of comprehensive immigration reform approaching, this note offers several recommendations for the U.S. government, either to eliminate the one-year bar entirely or adopt other measures to lessen its negative effects on bona fide asylum-seekers.