"Exclusion" of Refugees from Refugee Status: History, Law, Terrorism, Security, State Interests and Idelopgy
This dissertation discusses the exclusion of “undeserving” refugees on the basis of the state national security interests in international refugee law. In determining the refugee status for those who are fleeing armed conflicts, civil war, and genocide, states’ main security concern is terrorism. The term “terrorism” is not mentioned under the refugee convention of 1951 nor its 1967 protocol; the term’s definition is too broad and can be applied under the “exclusion clauses” of Article 1F of the refugee convention. The sovereign state in international law is solely responsible for the protection of its national security interests. At the same time, the state is committed to providing the promised protection for refugees under international law. However, the “political will” of a state differs among states in conducting refugee status determinations on the basis of national security interests. Who is deserving to be included? And who is not?
The U.S. refugee policy has developed and been shaped throughout the years to adopt restrictions on ideological threats to its national security interests. Communism and terrorism threats have influenced refugee policymakers during different periods. The Cold War produced refugees from communist countries, and those refugees were prioritized as a national interest in combating communism during the Cold War. Additionally, the attack on 9/11 shifted U.S. refugee policymakers to make major changes to the core of U.S. immigration law. While formerly the purview of the Immigration and Naturalization services (INS), refugee determination became part of the sphere of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), indicating the importance of national security regarding refugee status determination and refugee resettlement in the United States.