SMU Law Review


This article argues for a change in United States asylum policy at a time when change is needed most. Those seeking asylum must prove that they fear persecution in their home country based on one of five protected categories and that their government is the persecutor or is unable to control the actions of the persecutors. Multiple articles have recognized that the “particular social group” is the most difficult category of asylum seeker to analyze. Not only do the standards for particular social groups (PSGs) vary among circuit courts, but judicial consistency is lacking.

This article focuses on a particular PSG, healthcare workers from recently Ebola-stricken West Africa. During the 2014 Ebola crisis, these healthcare workers faced discrimination and violence due to their association with western medicine. Hospitals were frequently threatened and ran- sacked. Multiple accounts of violence against local and international healthcare workers were recorded by Doctors Against Borders, the Centers for Disease Control, and the international media. However, because of the inconsistencies in asylum law and the ever-present political influence in what originates as a humanitarian process, it is unlikely for these PSGs to be found asylum-eligible. This highlights the need for a more consistent and humanitarian-based asylum policy with less political influence.