The Mercy Factory: Refugees and the American Asylum System

By in Emigration & Immigration on August 23, 2013

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Each year thousands of people come to the United States seeking protection—more than 62,000 applied for asylum in 1998 alone. America is a country of immigrants with a proud tradition of welcoming refugees from persecution. Yet most Americans object to high levels of illegal immigration, and many feel that poor immigrants are a burden to the society. These conflicting views are played out in a complex system of asylum adjudication that has developed over the last twenty years. The Mercy Factory is the first book to examine that system. It does so by telling the stories of five refugees, following them from their experience of persecution in their home countries to their arrival in the United States and their progress through the barriers of the American immigration legal system. The stories are both tragic and inspiring, but they also illuminate the workings of the asylum system and the dilemmas often faced by immigration officials and judges who must make life or death decisions in limited time, with limited information at hand. Throughout his absorbing narrative, Mr. Einolf explains the basic law of asylum in layman’s terms, examines the history of the asylum adjudication system, and suggests proposals for reform.

One thought on “The Mercy Factory: Refugees and the American Asylum System

  1. Midwest Book Review
    1
    2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    An excellent examination of social issues and justice, December 15, 2001
    By 
    Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) –

    This review is from: The Mercy Factory: Refugees and the American Asylum System (Hardcover)

    Christopher Einolf’s Mercy Factory examines American objections to high levels of immigration and the presence of poor immigrants, contrasting these feelings to the country’s tradition of welcoming refugees from persecution. The asylum system is considered here from the stories of five refugees, telling of how they progressed through the American immigration legal system. An excellent examination of social issues and justice.

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