U.S. case law and legal precedent affirming the due process rights of immigrants fleeing persecution

Shawn S. Sidhu, Ramnarine Boodoo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The political discourse on domestic immigration policy has shifted rapidly in recent years, mirrored by similar shifts in the geopolitical climate worldwide. However, a nuanced assessment of the legal basis backing such rhetoric is sorely lacking. This article examines the historical, legal, and case law precedent as it pertains specifically to immigrants who are fleeing persecution and residing within the United States. Due process rights emerged from the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Constitutional Amendments and have been expanded to include this population through several sequential United States Supreme Court Cases. We review the 1951 Convention Related to the Status of Refugees and 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees and examine subsequent case law and legal precedent. We then present evidence documenting widespread violations of due process rights for immigrants fleeing persecution. Specifically, we address the right to a fair hearing for individuals fearing for their lives upon return to their home country, the right against wrongful detainment, and the right to apply for asylum regardless of religion or country of origin. We conclude by addressing potential counterarguments to our thesis, future directions, and the role of forensic psychiatrists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-373
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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