journalists, U.S. Court of Appeal, immigration, asylum


At least thirty non-U.S. journalists in the last decade have argued in U.S. Courts of Appeal that U.S. immigration authorities erroneously denied their asylum applications based on persecution in their native countries. ... Still, journalists persecuted in their home countries for their journalism work might better fit the statutory qualifications for asylum --primarily persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a "particular social group"--than the U.S. immigration system sometimes acknowledges. ... Finally, and most importantly, the asylum seeker bears the burden to establish that he or she is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country because of past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution "on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion." ... If the IJ does not grant the asylum application, the applicant may appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals, another Justice Department entity. ... In a 2000 case, for example, one Ninth Circuit panel held that a Pakistani journalist who was beaten and threatened in his newspaper office by political partisans unhappy with his coverage had been persecuted because of his political opinion.

Original Publication Citation

Carter, Edward L., Clark, Brad. "Membership in a Particular Social Group": International Journalists and U.S. Asylum Law. 27 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Communication Law and Policy (27).

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.




Fine Arts and Communications



Included in

Communication Commons