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Pride & Prejudice: Stigmas And Stereotypes Stack The Deck Against LGBT Asylum Seekers

Prior to the passage of the Real I.D. Act, there was a presumption of credibility in favor of asylum applicants and numerous safeguards provided by case law and several federal jurisdictions. As one court has held, “[A]bsent an explicit finding that a specific statement by the petitioner is not credible we are required to accept that her testimony is true.”[63] But the Real I.D. Act stripped away those safeguards....

 

via Pride & Prejudice: Stigmas And Stereotypes Stack The Deck Against LGBT Asylum Seekers — Marpheen Chann

Below you will find a paper I prepared on case history (leading up to 2017) focused on stigmas and stereotypes of LGBT people in asylum proceedings. This is in no way intended to be legal advice and is for educational and commentary purposes only.

Introduction

The U.S. has improved its country conditions as it relates to LGBT applicants within the past two decades, which is consistent with larger political and societal advances in terms of equality. However, many cases involved arbitrary and capricious decisions of asylum officers and immigration judges based on stigmas and stereotypes. While this may go to show the need for further cultural competency and diversity training for U.S. immigration enforcement and adjudication officials, one must consider such things as: To what extent is the current system overburdened and inadequately funded? How much training do immigration officers and judges go through? Would more training lead to “training fatigue”? Does training remedy the underlying causes and sources of biases resulting from stigmas and stereotypes? But a broader question arises. Is it lack of training or are prejudices exacerbated by a fundamental flaw in U.S. refugee law?

Defining Stigmas and Stereotypes

It is important, however, to first define what is meant by a “stigma” or “stereotype”. From a psychological standpoint, a foundational theory of “stigma” stems from sociologist Erving Goffman’s conception of the term:

While a stranger is present before us, evidence can arise of his possessing an attribute that makes him different from others in the category of persons available for him to be, and of a less desirable kind–in the extreme, a person who is quite thoroughly bad, or dangerous, or weak. He is thus reduced in our minds from a whole and usual person to a tainted, discounted one. Such an attribute is a stigma….[1]Goffman further organizes stigma into three categories: physical “abominations” and deformities; blemishes in character such as a weak will, dishonesty, etc., which are often inferred from such things as being imprisoned, alcoholism, unemployment and homosexuality, etc.; and tribal stigma involving such things as race, nationality, and religion, which are passed down through lineage and “contaminate” all members of the family.[2]

A “stereotype”, although closely related to stigma, is defined as “the relative fixed, erroneous and negative generalization held true for certain groups,”[3] or the “…fixed, over generalized belief about a particular group or class of people.”[4] To delineate between the two, a stigma is negative attribution targeted toward an individual person, which, when applied to other similar persons (in terms of physical defect, character flaw, or race, nationality, or religion), becomes a stereotype.

Since the initial conception of stigma by Goffman, many sociologists have sought to reclaim the term as a sociological phenomenon – rather than a psychological one.[5] For instance, some have sought to broaden the definition as:

[T]he convergence of interrelated components. Thus, stigma exists when elements of labeling, stereotyping, separation, status loss, and discrimination occur together in a power situation that allows them.[6]Discussion of stigmas and stereotypes are roped in with three generic mechanisms to achieve “discriminatory outcomes”: individual discrimination, structural discrimination, and discrimination that operates through the stigmatized person’s beliefs and behaviors (i.e. the many ways stigmatized persons are encouraged to believe that they should not enjoy full and equal participation in social and economic life).[7]

But most importantly in the refugee law context, is how we go about changing stigma. The authors posit:

Our conceptualization leads us to focus on two principles in considering how to really change stigma. The first is that any approach must be multifaceted and multilevel. It needs to be multifaceted to address the many mechanisms that can lead to disadvantaged outcomes, and it needs to be multilevel to address issues of both individual and structural discrimination. But second, and most important, an approach to change must ultimately address the fundamental cause of stigma—it must either change the deeply held attitudes and beliefs of powerful groups that lead to labeling, stereotyping, setting apart, devaluing, and discriminating, or it must change circumstances so as to limit the power of such groups to make their cognitions the dominant ones.[8]

Stigmas and Stereotypes work their way into asylum hearings

LGBT persons face issues stemming from stereotypes and bias in a culture that expects LGBT individuals to act, dress, or talk in a certain manner and live a certain lifestyle. Stigmas and stereotypes against the LGBT community in the U.S. work their way into asylum interviews and result in asylum officers obscuring how an LGBT applicant’s country of origin may, whether it be political, cultural, or social pressure, cause LGBT applicants to not fit an immigration officials harmful perceptions or biases. The cases discussed below are precedential BIA cases which discuss the more prevalent stigmas and stereotypes that make their way into Asylum hearings.

Conduct vs. Identity

The BIA, in Matter of Toboso-Alfonso, established that an applicant’s sexual orientation satisfied the “membership of a social group” prong in making a claim for asylum. In that case, a 40-year old native of Cuba argued that his life and freedom would be threatened because of his status as a homosexual.[9]  To support this, the applicant provided such facts as the government of Cuba creating a registry of homosexuals, being subjected to “health examinations”, questioning, detainment, and forced labor.[10]

The INS on appeal argued that “socially deviated behavior, i.e. homosexual activity is not a basis for finding a social group within the contemplation of the Act” and that construing it as such “would be tantamount to awarding discretionary relief to those involved in behavior that is not only socially deviant in nature, but in violation of the laws or regulations of the country as well.[11]  The BIA rejected this argument by pointing to additional burden an applicant must bear establishing that members of the group are persecuted, have a well-founded fear of persecution, or would have their life or freedom threatened because of their sexual orientation.[12]

The BIA did not designate this as precedential until 1994, following a groundbreaking 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court decision striking down a state statute that limited marriage to those of the opposite sex.  But the stigma that homosexuality is a “socially deviated behavior” would continue to work its way into arguments against LGBT applicants.

For instance, in a case involving a native of Zimbabwe, the 8th Circuit affirmed an Immigration Judge’s decision that the applicant was not eligible for asylum, withholding, or relief under CAT, because he was punished by the government for “sexual misconduct” (at age 12, he “lured” another boy to engage in sexual acts; at age 16, he fell in love with a classmate and, on one instance, they both got drunk and had sex) and not persecuted because of his homosexual identity.[13]  This was so despite evidence submitted of local officials, neighbors, etc., harassing, throwing things at him, and even being shocked by an electrical wire.[14]  The court agreed that those incidents did not rise to the level of persecution and neither could it be attributed to the government without a showing that it was unable or unwilling to provide protection.[15]

The dissent in Kimumwe raises several issues. The first being the IJ imposing a sort of requirement for objective evidence to prove Kimumwe’s homosexuality.[16]  The second issue was the IJ’s mischaracterization of Kimumwe’s usage of “lure” in his testimony, while ignoring his explanation that he convinced another boy to engage in sexual acts.[17]  Here, the dissent makes a distinction between convincing and coercing.[18]  The third issue was how the IJ and majority mischaracterized the record regarding the incident that occurred at age 16.[19]  Essentially, the majority neglected to mention that, after the incident, other classmates found out and pressured his friend to report him.  The dissent further explains:

[T]he IJ apparently believed that Kimumwe had taken advantage of Ohomutso by getting him drunk for the purpose of having sex. At the hearing, however, Kimumwe clarified that they were both drunk, and that he did not compel Ohomutso to have sex in any way.[20]

The dissent finally concludes by saying that the objective evidence submitted by Kimumwe (State Dept. Country Condition Reports and statements Mugabe made) was sufficient to show a reasonable fear of future persecution.[21]

“You don’t act or look gay”

In Shahinaj v. Gonzalez, the 8th Circuit found, despite a deferential standard of review, that:

The IJ discredited Shahinaj’s claim of persecution due to homosexual orientation based on (1) the IJ’s personal and improper opinion Shahinaj did not dress or speak like or exhibit the mannerisms of a homosexual, (2) Shahinaj’s lack of membership in any Albanian homosexual organizations, and (3) the IJ’s personal experience that three-quarters of all homosexual Albanian applicants who seek asylum profess persecution based on being election observers.[22]

In Ali v. Mukasey, the applicant argued that he would be persecuted because of his sexual orientation and as a criminal deportee if returned to Guyana.[23] He had initially been deported and, while detained in Guyana in 1997, was raped by Guyana officers. The IJ, relying on harmful stereotypes and questioning whether Ali was indeed a homosexual, went so far as to say such things as “violent dangerous criminals and feminine contemptible homosexuals are not usually considered to be the same people” and that Ali would “need a partner or cooperating person” in order for others to recognize him as a homosexual (to which the IJ expressed doubt of his ability to be in such a relationship).[24] The IJ, in questioning Ali’s credibility, further stated, “the picture of [Ali]as a proud, professed homosexual in Guyana seems to be more an expression of wishful thinking than something that’s particularly likely to come true.”[25]

The 2nd Circuit was clearly aghast when it opined:

These comments reflect an impermissible reliance on preconceived assumptions about homosexuality and homosexuals, as well as a disrespect for the petitioner. And taken together, they amount to the type of conduct that we have said “results in the appearance of bias or hostility such that we cannot conduct a meaningful review of the decision below” and we must remand.[26]

In Razkane v. Holder (2009), the IJ stated that the Moroccan applicant’s “appearance does not have anything about it that would designate [him] as being gay. [He] does not dress in an effeminate manner or affect any effeminate mannerisms.”[27] The IJ also emphasized how the applicant, while engaging in homosexual activity, had not been involved in a same-sex relationship either in Morocco or the U.S., and, interestingly, stated that he failed to show that he was:

[M]ore likely than not that he would be engaged in homosexuality in Morocco or, even if he was, that it would be the type of overt homosexuality that would bring him to the attention of the authorities or of the society in general.[28]The 10th Circuit, referring to the 2nd Circuit’s decision in Ali and the 8th Circuit’s decision in Shahinaj, reversed the BIA’s affirmation and, in stern and stark terms, held that “[t]o condone this style of judging, unhinged from the prerequisite of substantial evidence, would inevitably lead to unpredictable, inconsistent, and unreviewable results.”[29]

These cases show clearly how stigmas and stereotypes have made their way into asylum decisions. But from a policy perspective, how do we go about routing out and remedying the stigmas and stereotypes that so often result in unfair and biased decisions against LGBT asylum applicants? As with most things, there is no one, easy answer. Stigmas and stereotypes do not exist sporadically, but are embedded in systems, institutions, and society. For the past two decades, diversity training and programming has been touted as the answer.

Overview of USCIS asylum officer training

Federal employees undergo a tremendous amount of training in order to support their respective departments or agencies in executing and enforcing the law. The Asylum Division of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency requires that all asylum officers attend and complete the 5 ½-week Asylum Officer Basic Training Course, which is held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Charleston, South Carolina. The training for asylum officers covers topics such as international refugee law and the U.S. Asylum Program’s role in world-wide refugee protection, U.S. asylum case law, interviewing techniques, researching country of origin information, and decision-making and writing.[30] In addition, there are training sessions that focus on interviewing survivors of torture, identifying possible cases of victims of trafficking, handling cases with children, and handling claims specific to women.[31]

The Asylum Division also requires supervisory asylum officers to take a two-week training course in order to update supervisors on asylum-related case law, and to hone and improve case law application.[32] Supervisors are also trained in order to achieve greater consistency and effectiveness in evaluating asylum officers’ interview and written work, as well as other management skills.[33]

On top of that, each individual field office has up to two Quality Assurance and Training Officers who are tasked with coordinating weekly training sessions and training new asylum officers.[34] The weekly sessions are required by the Asylum division and can last up to four hours, with topics specifically tailored toward individual field office needs.[35] Training officers are also required to attend two-week training courses to improve and hone their training skills.[36]

Guidelines on adjudicating LGBT asylum claims

USCIS provides a 65-page training manual titled Guidance for Adjudicating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Refugee and Asylum Claims (Guidelines). The training manual provides guidelines on how to gather the relevant information in order to make the determination of whether an applicant has satisfied the elements of an asylum claim. In those guidelines, an asylum officer provided summary information on how to do a legal analysis on each element of an asylum claim. Below is provided a brief overview of the Guidelines.

1. Nexus and Five Protected Grounds

The Guidelines begin with a discussion on how to ascertain whether an applicant basing their claim on sexual orientation can meet their burden when it comes membership in a particular social group (PSG). An asylum officer begins first by “framing the PSG” in terms of identifying the characteristics perceived by the persecutor and identifying how individuals with those characteristics fit into the definition of a Refugee in the INA.[37] An officer must then assess whether the persecutor perceives an applicant as possessing a protected characteristic, in fact or imputed, and whether the persecutor acted or would act as a result.[38]

2. Past Persecution

The Guidelines then move onto past persecution and directs the officer to assess whether the harm alleged by the applicant rises to the level of persecution and whether the actor is the government itself or an individual or group that the government is unable or unwilling to protect the applicant from.[39] Also discussed are various ways in which an LGBT applicant can be harmed, including being forced to abandon or conceal one’s sexual orientation or gender identity, criminal penalties for private, sexual conduct, rape or sexual violence, torture, forced medical and psychiatric treatment, etc.[40] The officer is also instructed that the sources of these harms can come from both government and private actors such as community members, gangs, or militias.[41]

3. Well-Founded Fear

From there, the Guidelines address the element of well-founded fear, whether past or future, by referencing the objective and subjective components the applicant needs to show in order to meet their burden. An officer is informed that simply because objective elements exist, such as the existence of an LGBT organization or an annual LGBT event, does not necessarily undermine an applicant’s claim of a well-founded fear.[42] In terms of assessing fear of future persecution, officers are instructed that the applicant need not show that the persecutor, in fact, knew of the applicant’s sexual orientation or gender identity, but that they may become aware of it upon the applicant’s return to their country of origin.[43] In addition, conditions may have changed since the applicant left which leads the applicant to have a reasonable fear of future persecution.[44]

4. Interviewing

The Guidelines then provides an officer with best practices on how to conduct an interview. The officer is encouraged to allow applicants to discuss freely and to take note that it may be uncomfortable for an applicant to talk about their sexual orientation or gender identity.[45] The officer is also encouraged to be aware of how the presence of third parties such a family members and interpreters may affect the applicant’s testimony.[46] Especially important for current debate on Transgender rights, an officer is encouraged to conduct the interview using the pronouns the applicant prefers.[47] An excerpt from the Guidelines reads as follows:

While you must conduct all of your interviews in a non-adversarial manner, it is crucial when interviewing LGBTI applicants that you set a tone that allows the applicant to testify comfortably and that promotes a full discussion of the applicant’s past experiences. You must conduct the interview in an open and nonjudgmental atmosphere designed to elicit the most information from the applicant.

You should be mindful that for many people there is no topic more difficult to discuss with a stranger than matters relating to sexual orientation, gender identity, and serious illness. Furthermore, many applicants have been physically and sexually abused, harassed, tormented, and humiliated over many years because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.[48]5. Evidence Assessment

The final section of the Guidelines discusses the officer’s role in assessing the evidence. The officer is instructed here that the important factor to take under consideration is what characteristic the persecutor perceived in the applicant.[49] Because the credible testimony of the applicant may be sufficient to successfully make a claim for asylum, the officer is instructed to fully and fairly elicit all testimony with regard to the harm the applicant suffered or fears based on his or her actual status as a sexual minority or perceived status as a sexual minority.[50] Section 7.1.1 specifically addresses the issues of this paper in discussing how simply because the applicant is married to a person of the opposite sex, or does not “look” or “act” gay, does not necessarily undermine an applicant’s credibility.[51] The Guidelines then close this section out by addressing issues surrounding the difficulty an applicant might have in being consistent and providing corroborating evidence.[52]

Would more training help correct the prevalence of prejudice in asylum decisions?

Some would argue that more training is needed in order to correct the prevalence of stigmas and stereotypes in adjudicating LGBT asylum claims. But the impact of cultural competency and diversity training is still being widely debated. Does cultural competency and diversity training actually do good or does it harm? In the asylum adjudication context, does it serve to clarify and inform decisions or does it create more uncertainty and potentially reinforces existing prejudices and biases?

Diversity training gains steam as a reaction to lawsuits

The focus by large corporations on diversity training began to garner steam after the company Texaco settled a racial bias suit for a whopping $175 million.[53] The company also agreed to putting $35 million of that settlement toward reforming its human resources policies.[54] As part of those reforms, Texaco appointed a panel of experts to overhaul its policies, increase the number of minority and women employees and managers, increase supplier diversity, and implement training and internship programs.[55]

2007 study shows what does and doesn’t work as it relates to diversity training

A comprehensive study conducted in 2007 looked at trends in 829 US companies in order to garner the effectiveness of diversity programs over a span of 31 years. The study suggests that having a diversity council or diversity manager and providing mentoring programs was the most effective in achieving diversity within those companies.[56] More popular programs such as diversity training sessions, evaluations, and network programs have proven less effective and even counterproductive.[57]

In fact, poorly planned training programs have resulted in participants being left “confused, angry, or with more animosity toward differences,” largely due to participants being left on their own to interpret and internalize the training.[58] In another study, the researchers document a long-line of research indicating that diversity trainings and programs are perceived as offering unfair advantages to minorities, punishment for insensitivity, and unfairly blaming white people for problems faced by women and minorities.[59] Such research has been invoked to support voluntary training, which has been shown to produce positive results.[60]

More training needed

In answering the question posed regarding whether more training is needed, the short answer is yes. But federal employees already undergo numerous trainings on a wide-range of topics. These trainings are mandatory in providing asylum officers the resources they need to adjudicate asylum claims. But Quality Assurance and Training Officers in each individual Asylum Division field office can engage with EEO and diversity and inclusion experts on how to offer voluntary training that is focused less on the legal ramifications of holding biased views. As Peter Bregman writes in Harvard Business Review:

[T]rain them to do their work with a diverse set of individuals. Not categories of people. People…. Teach them how to have difficult conversations with a range of individuals. Teach them how to manage the variety of employees who report to them. Teach them how to develop the skills of their various employees.[61]But as mentioned previously, stigmas and stereotypes do not exist sporadically, but are embedded in systems, institutions, and society. Our legal institutions and laws are reflections of societal norms, beliefs, and priorities. Our foreign policy and immigration and naturalization laws are reflections of the views American society harbors of the world beyond our shores. More training for immigration officers is needed, yes, but perhaps a change in law and policy is also needed.

Do credibility determinations predispose asylum officers to prejudice?

Following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq, asylum was feared as a pathway for terrorists to enter the U.S., leading to the passage of the Real I.D. Act in 2005. Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), a champion of the Act, was on the record as stating:

Mr. Chairman, I want to quote from the 9/11 Commission staff report entitled 9/11 and Terrorist Travel. The staff found that a number of terrorists have abused the asylum system and that once terrorists have entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. The primary method was immigration fraud, concocting bogus political asylum stories when they arrive.[62]

Prior to the passage of the Act, there was a presumption of credibility and numerous safeguards provided by case law and several federal jurisdictions. As one court has held, “[A]bsent an explicit finding that a specific statement by the petitioner is not credible we are required to accept that her testimony is true.”[63] But the Real I.D. Act stripped away those safeguards in allowing credibility determinations based that could be based on:

[D]emeanor, candor, or responsiveness of the applicant or witness, the inherent plausibility of the applicant’s or witness’s account, the consistency between the applicant’s or witness’s written and oral statements (whenever made and whether or not under oath, and considering the circumstances under which the statements were made), the internal consistency of each such statement, the consistency of such statements with other evidence of record (including the reports of the Department of State on country conditions), and any inaccuracies or falsehoods in such statements, without regard to whether an inconsistency, inaccuracy, or falsehood goes to the heart of the applicant’s claim, or any other relevant factor.[64]

One scholar has compared the standards of proof for asylum claims to those in criminal trials. In criminal trials, the high standard of proof coupled with the exclusion of certain categories of evidence, favors the defendant.[65] For asylum applicants, the high standard of proof disfavors the applicant.[66] As he explains:

In a criminal case, the apportionment of proof requirements is calculated to prefer an incorrect acquittal over an incorrect guilty verdict.146 In an asylum case, the opposite is true: an incorrect denial of asylum is designed to be favored over an incorrect grant of asylum.[67]

The credibility provision in the INA raises a presumption against the applicant that speaks of the biases held by American society against asylum seekers and refugees. Indeed, we can see those prejudices today when discussing the Syrian refugee crisis. Could the credibility provision also force asylum officers to adjudicate LGBT asylum cases on the basis of their own perceptions, stigmas, and stereotypes of LGBT individuals?

Conclusion

Voluntary training is needed in order to engage asylum officers and adjudicators to correct and remedy the prevailing stigmas and stereotypes they may hold against LGBT individuals and the LGBT community. But training is not enough when the law, in and of itself, embodies stigmas and stereotypes that society has against refugees. The law as it stands now, with the credibility provision, imposes a standard of proof that predisposes the adjudicator to their own prejudices by essentially requiring an officer to require proof that the refugee is what they claim to be – whether it be a single mother from Central America, or a gay man from Uganda married  to a women with children. To limit the prejudices that arise in asylum decisions, the credibility provision must be struck from the law.

Bibliography

List of Statues & Legislative History

Immigration and Nationality Act § 208.

150 Cong. Rec. H8896, (statement of Rep. Sensenbrenner) (2004).

List of Regulations

USCIS, U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Security, Guidance for Adjudicating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Refugee and Asylum Claims (2011).

List of Cases

Ali v. Mukasey, 529 F.3d 478 (2nd Cir. 2008).

Kimumwe v. Gonzales, 431 F.3d 319 (8th Cir. 2005).

Lukwago v. Ashcroft, 329 F.3d 157, 164 (3d Cir. 2003) (quoting Hartooni v. I.N.S., 21 F.3d 336, 342 (9th Cir. 1994)).

Matter of Toboso-Alfonso, 20 I&N Dec. 819 (BIA 1994).

Shahinaj v. Gonzales, 481 F.3d 1027 (8th Cir. 2007).

List of Law Review Articles

James P. Eyster, Searching For The Key In The Wrong Place: Why “Common Sense” Credibility Rules Consistently Harm Refugees, 30 B.U. Int’l L.J. 1 (2012).

Other

Rohini Anand and Mary-Frances Winters, A Retrospective View of Corporate Diversity Training From 1964 to the Present, Acad. of Mgmt. Learning & Ed., Vol. 7, No. 3, 356 –372, 361 (2008).

Cardwell, M. (1996). Dictionary of Psychology. Chicago IL: Fitzroy Dearborn.

Frank Dobbin. et. al., Why Diversity Programs Fail Harvard Business Review (2016), https://hbr.org/2016/07/why-diversity-programs-fail (last visited Apr 27, 2017).

Kurt Eichenwald, Texaco Plans Wide Program For Minorities, NY Times (1996), http://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/19/business/texaco-plans-wide-program-for-minorities.html (last visited Apr 27, 2017).

Erving Goffman, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity 3 (1963).

Arthur Kleinman and Rachel Hall-Gifford, Stigma: a social, cultural and moral process, J. Epidemial Community Health, Vol. 63 No. 6 (June 2009).

T. Kulik, et. al., The rich get richer: Predicting participation in voluntary diversity training, Journal of Organizational Behavior 28(6), 753 – 769 (2007), http://scholar.harvard.edu/dobbin/files/2007_contexts_dobbin_kalev_kelly.pdf (accessed April 27, 2017).

Bruce G. Link and Jo C. Phelan, Conceptualizing Stigma, Annu. Rev. Sociol. 2001. 27:363–85, 377 (2001).

Thomas S. Mulligan and Chris Kraul, Texaco Settles Race Bias Suit for $176 Million, LA Times (1996), (http://articles.latimes.com/1996-11-16/news/mn-65290_1_texaco-settles-race-bias-suit (last visited Apr 27, 2017).

Razkane v. Holder, 562 F.3d 1283, 1286 (10th Cir. 2009).

USCIS, Asylum Division Training Programs, https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum/asylum-division-training-programs (last visited April 27, 2017).

Sharon Walsh, Texaco Sets Diversity Programs, Washington Post (1996), (https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/business/1996/12/19/texaco-sets-diversity-programs/587145cb-cb64-4ae8-b847-ac15e02ef1c6/?utm_term=.35077bc3a50c (last visited Apr 27, 2017).

Footnotes

[1] Erving Goffman, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity 3 (1963).

[2]Id. at pg. 4.

[3] Black’s Law Dictionary.

[4] Cardwell, M. (1996). Dictionary of Psychology. Chicago IL: Fitzroy Dearborn.

[5] Arthur Kleinman and Rachel Hall-Gifford, Stigma: a social, cultural and moral process, J. Epidemial Community Health, Vol. 63 No. 6 (June 2009).

[6] Bruce G. Link and Jo C. Phelan, Conceptualizing Stigma, Annu. Rev. Sociol. 2001. 27:363–85, 377 (2001).

[7] Link, at 379-380

[8]Id. at 377.

[9] Matter of Toboso-Alfonso, 20 I&N Dec. 819 (BIA 1994).

[10]Id. at 820-821.

[11]Id. at 822.

[12]Id. at 822-823.

[13]Kimumwe v. Gonzales, 431 F.3d 319 (8th Cir. 2005).

[14]Id. at 322.

[15]Id.

[16]Id. at 324 (Heaney, J., dissenting).

[17]Id.

[18]Id.

[19]Id.

[20]Id.

[21]Id. at 325

[22]Shahinaj v. Gonzales, 481 F.3d 1027, 1029 (8th Cir. 2007).

[23]Ali v. Mukasey, 529 F.3d 478 (2nd Cir. 2008).

[24]Id. at 480.

[25]Id. at 487.

[26]Id. at 491.

[27]Razkane v. Holder, 562 F.3d 1283, 1286 (10th Cir. 2009).

[28]Id.

[29]Id. at 1287.

[30] USCIS, Asylum Division Training Programs, https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum/asylum-division-training-programs (last visited April 27, 2017).

[31]Id.

[32]Id.

[33]Id.

[34]Id.

[35]Id.

[36]Id.

[37] USCIS, U.S. Dep’t of Homeland Security, Guidance for Adjudicating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Refugee and Asylum Claims, at 14 (2011).

[38]Id. at 15.

[39]Id. at 19.

[40]Id. at 20-24.

[41]Id. at 24.

[42]Id. at 25.

[43]Id. at 25.

[44]Id. at 25.

[45]Id. at 26-27.

[46] USCIS, at 27-28.

[47]Id. at 28.

[48]Id. at 29.

[49]Id. at 38-39.

[50]Id. at 39.

[51]Id. at 41.

[52]Id. at 41-46.

[53] Thomas S. Mulligan and Chris Kraul, Texaco Settles Race Bias Suit for $176 Million, LA Times (1996), (http://articles.latimes.com/1996-11-16/news/mn-65290_1_texaco-settles-race-bias-suit (last visited Apr 27, 2017).

[54] Kurt Eichenwald, Texaco Plans Wide Program For Minorities, NY Times (1996), http://www.nytimes.com/1996/12/19/business/texaco-plans-wide-program-for-minorities.html (last visited Apr 27, 2017).

[55] Sharon Walsh, Texaco Sets Diversity Programs, Washington Post (1996), (https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/business/1996/12/19/texaco-sets-diversity-programs/587145cb-cb64-4ae8-b847-ac15e02ef1c6/?utm_term=.35077bc3a50c (last visited Apr 27, 2017).

[56] C. T. Kulik, et. al., The rich get richer: Predicting participation in voluntary diversity training, Journal of Organizational Behavior 28(6), 753 – 769 (2007), http://scholar.harvard.edu/dobbin/files/2007_contexts_dobbin_kalev_kelly.pdf (accessed April 27, 2017).

[57]Id.

[58] Rohini Anand and Mary-Frances Winters, A Retrospective View of Corporate Diversity Training From 1964 to the Present, Acad. of Mgmt. Learning & Ed., Vol. 7, No. 3, 356 –372, 361 (2008).

[59] Kulik, (no page numbers).

[60] Frank Dobbin. et. al., Why Diversity Programs Fail Harvard Business Review (2016), https://hbr.org/2016/07/why-diversity-programs-fail (last visited Apr 27, 2017).

[61] Dobbin.

[62] 150 Cong. Rec. H8896, (statement of Rep. Sensenbrenner) (2004).

[63]Lukwago v. Ashcroft, 329 F.3d 157, 164 (3d Cir. 2003) (quoting Hartooni v. I.N.S., 21 F.3d 336, 342 (9th Cir. 1994)).

[64] INA § 208(b)(3)(B)(iii) (2006 & Supp. II 2009).

[65] James P. Eyster, Searching For The Key In The Wrong Place: Why “Common Sense” Credibility Rules Consistently Harm Refugees, 30 B.U. Int’l L.J. 1 (2012).

[66]Id. at 29.

[67]Id. at 29.

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