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Well-Founded Fear (2000)

| Documentary | 2000 (USA)
This documentary film takes us to an in-depth look at the asylum process of the federal U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Foreigners that are already in the United States, ... See full summary »
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This documentary film takes us to an in-depth look at the asylum process of the federal U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Foreigners that are already in the United States, having fled their home countries, have the opportunity to apply for asylum through the INS. If a person's case establishes a "well-founded fear" of his/her home country, the adjudicating immigration officer approves his/her asylum application. If a person's case does not quite meet up to the officer's expectation of a "well-founded fear," it is referred to an immigration judge for a decision. Written by Oliver Chu

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Political asylum in the US: who deserves it? who gets it? who decides?

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Touching documentary involving U.S. refugees.
6 June 2007 | by (California, USA) – See all my reviews

This is a touching documentary about the asylum process within the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). In this film, we see people who are struggling from political or religious persecutions in their home countries and, therefore, trying to seek refuge in the United States. Each individual's lives is depicted in depth in this film, with them stating their own reasons to seek refuge to the United States as they appear in an interview before an asylum officer at the INS. Some applicants try to overstep their authority with the officer, trying to convince them that they are entitled to stay in the U.S., making up stories during the interview process. When officers detect any suspicious, they refer those cases to an Immigration Judge for a decision. Those who are truthful can lead to an immediate approval of refugee status. At least two people depicted in this film, who were tortured in their countries because of their beliefs, were immediately granted status in the United States. Their reactions of relief and gladness were heartwarming.

Overall, a very detailed and emotional documentary. Though the INS can be sometimes seen as bureaucratic, it can be seen as a fodder of hope and goodness. I had the pleasure of meeting the directors of this film, Michael Camerini and Shari Robertson, back in 2002 when they were filming a documentary at the Sacramento INS office involving the naturalization process, and was privileged to be part of the film.

Grade A


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