Sunday, November 06, 2011

A Second Chance for an Asylum Seeker in PA

"An illiterate Jamaican farmworker with a severe stutter has been granted a new asylum hearing in Pennsylvania as he tries to stay in the U.S."


The applicant had been detained for over a year with no progress being made on his case. Because of the applicant's severe stutter and inability to get legal counsel, the judge presiding over the case allowed two fellow inmates to try to translate for the applicant. This obviously led the outcome of the hearing to be extremely questionable. It is surprising that a judge would allow something so unprofessional to occur in court. Luckily, the hearing was reviewed and the applicant has been granted another hearing.

Some good has come out of this case. Along with a new hearing the publicity has led to a speech pathologist to volunteer time to help with the applicants speech impediment.

This case is a prime example of how our asylum system is failing. By not offering support in the form of legal counsel etc. to those seeking asylum we are causing them to be detained for harmful periods of time and it is clogging up the system. At the very least, in extreme cases such as this, we should not expect applicants to fend for themselves. Luckily this applicant no longer has to.

1 comment:

Ross said...

Very interesting post - especially because it is so personal to you! I think that this story also sheds light upon the lack of oversight in Asylum Law. This judge obviously made a poor decision to allow two inmates to do the translation. However, the judge will not likely have to answer to anyone for this mistake; making it more likely to happen again. To me, this is a sign that the immigration system needs to be reformed to make individual judges feel more responsible to adhere to the law.