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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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Stunning, excellent, even-handed view of the very human asylum process
8 June 2000 | by (Tucson, AZ) – See all my reviews

Well-founded fear, a documentary showing a a revealing look inside the INS's political asylum process. The film-makers were given unprecedented access to the process, including cameras in normally closed asylum interviews, along with interviews of the people seeking asylum, the asylum officers who hear the cases and make the decisions, and their supervisors. The film shows the truly human process of deciding who gets asylum and who does not, and shows both the officers and the applicants in a revealing light. At times the officers look jaded, sometimes compassionate, and sometimes frustrated at the process they have to administer. The individual stories range from the frustrating ones of people who have obviously suffered, but may not meet the US's asylum standard even if their stories are true, to truly inspiring stories, like one of a tortured Chinese poet. Not easy movie to watch, but *definitely* worth watching.


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