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Asylum Research

Updated June 9, 2013.
Prepared by Mary Whisner.

Note: HeinOnline, LexisNexis Academic, and World News Connection are UW Restricted databases. LexisNexis and Westlaw are restricted to users with individual IDs and passwords.

Research Guides

Turn to research guide for more sources and strategies when you are beginning your research or when you are looking for specific types of information.

CALS Asylum Case Research Guide
Prepared for Georgetown’s Center for Applied Legal Studies, an asylum law clinic. Provides an introduction to asylum research; links to research guides from various organizations on immigration, asylum, and country research.

Human Rights, from the University of Washington Libraries
Identifies free and UW Restricted sources for articles, books, documents, films, organizations and agencies, and websites.

International Studies, from the University of Washington Libraries
Identifies free and UW Restricted sources for articles, background information, and books.

Immigration Law, by Lourdes Fuentes & Ann Hemmens, in Specialized Legal Research (2004 Supp.).
A comprehensive guide to immigration law research generally.
KF240.S63 1987 at Reference Area & Reference Office


U.S. Government Websites

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) website provides valuable resources, including:

U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office of Immigration Review

U.S. State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, includes press releases, reports, and related material.

A gateway to human rights information and material from multiple federal agencies, with news (by country, issue, or region of the world) and official documents.



The following books are among the most useful for asylum research and study.

Asylum Case Law Sourcebook: Master Index and Case Abstracts for U.S. Court Decisions, by David A. Martin (2012).
KF4836.A53 M37 2007 at Reference Area

Asylum Primer: A Practical Guide to U.S. Asylum Law and Procedure, 6th ed. (American Immigration Lawyers Association, 2010).
KF4836 .G47 2010 at Reference Area

Collection of International Instruments and Legal Texts Concerning Refugees and Others of Concern to UNHCR (4 vols, 2007).
K3230.R45 C65 2007 at Reference Area & online

Law of Asylum in the United States, by Deborah E. Anker (2011 ed.).
KF4836.L3 1999 at Reference Area

The Refugee in International Law, by Guy S. Goodwin-Gill & Jane McAdam (3d ed. 2007). Table of contents
K3230.G66 2007 at Classified Stacks

Winning Asylum Cases, by Robert Jobe, Mark Silverman & Larry Katzman (1998 looseleaf with 2004 supp.).
KF4836.W56 1998 at Reference Area

For more books, search the Law Library catalog for these subject headings:

  • Asylum, Right of -- United States
  • Political refugees -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States



Best Practices in Representing Asylum-Seekers: A Video Resource for Pro Bono Attorneys (2 DVDs).
KF4836.Z9 B47 2004 at Classified Stacks. Accompanying written materials

Well-Founded Fear: The Sundance Cut (DVD, 2000). Internet Movie Database description
KF4836.W45 2000 at Classified Stacks

Well-Founded Fear: Discussion Modules: Tales from Real Life (video and discussion guide).
KF4836.W455 2004 at Classified Stacks

Well-Founded Fear: Training Modules: Practicing Asylum Law (video with facilitator’s guide).
KF4836.W456 2004 at Classified Stacks

Note: Many of the websites listed below have multimedia content.


Resources for Researching Country Conditions

U.S. Government Reports

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, from the U.S. State Department (annual, 1980-date).
JC571.U48 at Reference Area & Classified Stacks); State Dep’t website (1999-date); HeinOnline (Series 1, 1976-2010) [UW Restricted]

Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom, from the U.S. State Department (annual, 1999-date). State Dep’t website

International Organizations & Associations

United Nationsl High Commissioner for Refugees
UN High Commissioner for Refugees

"Browse by Country" includes country maps, financial information, reports, statistics, and related material.

Amnesty International
Amnesty International

“Search Country” for specific information.

Asylum Law

From “Legal Tools” select a country or theme.

Human Rights Watch
Includes multimedia, news, and publications (including reports by country).

International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission

Click on “Information by Country.”

University of Michigan Law School Refugee Caselaw Site
University of Michigan Law School Refugee Caselaw Site
An asterisk (*) after a country’s name indicates comprehensive information.

University of Minnesota Human Rights Library
University of Minnesota Human Rights Library Resources for Researching Country Conditions
Country-by-country links to constitutions, human rights instruments ratified, and selected country reports.



LexisNexis and Westlaw cover many domestic and foreign news sources.

World News Connection [UW Restricted]
News reports gathered by the Foreign Broadcast Information Bureau, often transcriptions of radio and television broadcasts.


Other Organizations

Human Rights First
A non-profit international human rights organization based in the U.S. Current information, worldwide scope.

Trains human rights defenders to document abuses on video (video advocacy).


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