Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version

Summer 7-15-2020


Karges, Joy. The legal obligation of the US government to protect asylum seekers. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln. July 2020.


Copyright Joy Karges 2020.


Immigration has always been an important topic of conversation in the United States and around the globe, but the recent surge of migrants at the US southern border has centered the debate around what is often referred to as “illegal immigration”. Some scholars argue that our detention facilities treat migrants as though they were criminals while others say detention facilities are the best way to keep migrants from making the journey to the US and threatening our national security. The purpose of this study is to untangle some of the misunderstandings surrounding immigration from Central America. By assessing some of the main push and pull factors that lead people, especially asylum seekers, to leave their homes and take the often arduous and dangerous journey to the US, we will begin to understand their situation from a different perspective. In addition, analyzing US policies as well as international immigration policies will show that there is in fact a legal obligation for the US Government to protect all asylum seekers and provide humane treatment for them while in the US Finally, theorizing a solution to this growing dilemma will show that the answer has always been in front of us, but it will require perseverance to follow through. This thesis argues that because the US Government has a legal obligation to protect migrants, they must promote more humane and ethical immigration policies and practices such as replacing the detention system and supporting Central American countries.