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Sabrineh Ardalan, Challenging Stereotypes in Refugee Protection, 40 B.U. Int'l L. J. 31 (2022).

Abstract: The Trump administration attempted to drastically curtail protections for asylum seekers in the United States through a series of regulatory changes, including a prohibition on the admission of certain stereotype-based evidence in asylum proceedings. While seemingly benign on its face, the provision would have made it difficult, if not impossible, for many asylum seekers to succeed in their claims. Given the challenges asylum seekers routinely face in gathering corroborating evidence, advocates often rely on stereotype-based evidence in support of asylum claims. Although courts enjoined the rule, preventing it from taking effect, the provision nonetheless offers an opportunity to rethink the role of stereotype-based evidence in refugee protection. By interrogating the type of evidence required to establish asylum eligibility, immigration advocates, scholars, and adjudicators alike can begin to push back against harmful cultural stereotype and return to a core principle of refugee law: the need to afford asylum seekers the benefit of the doubt.