Public Policy Article
Prejudicial Ruling on Addiction in Federal Immigration Courts: The Case of One Asylum Seeker Goes Before the 9th Circuit Court
Received Date: April 28, 2020; Published Date: May 22, 2020
The case of an asylum seeker who was the victim of prolonged torture and sex enslavement in her country of origin is pending before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This, after lower immigration authorities (i.e., Immigration Judge and Board of Immigration Appeals) refused to consider granting asylum because of “questionable moral character” of the applicant. The basis for the refusal were repeated Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenses after the applicant developed an addiction to alcohol. The argument before the appellate court, and the argument of this article, is that addiction to alcohol was consequent to trauma sustained in the country of origin and that it is considered a mental disease, not an indication of immorality.
Keywords: Moral Character, Addiction, Trauma, Immigration, Asylum, Prejudice