Belmont Law Review
Congress intended that the serious nonpolitical crime bar under United States asylum law have the same meaning and scope as the 1F(b) Refugee Convention exclusion clause. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that it was the intent of Congress to not only replicate the language of the provisions of the Refugee Convention in United States law, but to incorporate the full extent of the meaning of such language and bring the United States into compliance with its treaty obligations. Accordingly, when Congress reproduced exactly the language of the Article 1F(b) exclusion clause in the INA, it intended for that provision of United States law to have the same meaning, scope, and limitations as Article 1F(b). The UNHCR, international refugee law experts, and national jurisdictions that apply the provisions of the Refugee Convention in asylum adjudications agree that Article 1F(b) includes a duress exception, and United States authorities should find that the same exception exists under United States asylum law. The United States government’s failure to abide by congressional intent in applying statutory law contravenes the balance of power envisioned by the Constitution and undermines the rule of law as a result domestically and globally.
David Baluarte, Refugees Under Duress: International Law and the Serious Nonpolitical Crime Bar, 9 Belmont L. Rev. 406 (2022).