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Refuge beyond ReachHow Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers$
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David Scott FitzGerald

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190874155

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190874155.001.0001

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The North American Moat

The North American Moat

(p.71) Chapter 5 The North American Moat
Refuge beyond Reach

David Scott FitzGerald

Oxford University Press

The U.S. Coast Guard intercepted more than a quarter of a million migrants, including an unknown number of refugees, between 1982 and 2015. Practices developed by the United States to stop Haitians were then copied to prevent Chinese asylum seekers from crossing the Pacific. The 1993 Sale decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow refoulement on the high seas still stands. The fact that there are screenings at all, whatever their serious inadequacies, is evidence of diffuse international pressure articulated through the U.S. State Department and the influence of civil society. The Canadian government flirted with maritime refoulement but was constrained by greater deference to international law and the concern that openly flouting it would potentially damage Canada’s international reputation. The United States is a world leader in defining military bases strewn across the globe as territories under its control but not its sovereignty and thus spaces where asylum seekers have limited rights.

Keywords:   migrant interdiction, Coast Guard, territoriality, Golden Venture, Haiti, shout test, non-refoulement, Sale v. Haitian Centers Council

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