Throughout my thirty-eight-year legal career, I have experienced our legal system from nearly every perspective—as a trial lawyer, a juror, and a federal and state judge. Each of these experiences has demonstrated the value of ensuring our juries reflect the community in which they sit.
Despite congressional findings that all people are “presumed to be capable of engaging in gainful employment,” individuals with serious intellectual disabilities face barriers to obtaining and maintaining meaningful employment. One barrier to employment is the lack of funding for long-term job support, which many individuals with intellectual disabilities require. Although the primary method of funding long-term support is Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services Waivers, states limit the number of waivers available to their residents and leave many people on waiting lists for funding. Unfortunately, states are not required to provide a waiver to every eligible individual, as the Medicaid statute does not require that states give funding for community-based services to all. This lack of entitlement to a waiver results in an administrative failure and denial of equal employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
This Comment analyzes the firm resettlement bar—a statutory bar that denies asylum if the applicant received an offer of some type of permanent resettlement status in a third country that is not the United States or the applicant’s country of origin—by exploring its history and jurisprudence. This Comment argues that to lessen the risk of denial of meritorious asylum and refugee claims, the list of exceptions to the firm resettlement bar must be expanded to encompass situations where (1) citizens of the third country—not just the third country’s government—placed restrictive conditions on the asylum applicant, (2) fraudulent documents were used to gain entry into the third country, (3) the applicant has temporarily traveled from the third country back to the country of origin for good reason, or (4) the third country becomes dangerous after a formal offer of firm resettlement has been made.