Appeals Court Tells Homeland Security That Wikipedia Alone Isn't Sufficient Evidence For Refusing Asylum To A Refugee

from the DHS-didn't-realize-this? dept

While I tend to think that Wikipedia is a good thing overall, that's because I know it's not a source that should be relied on by itself for important decisions -- such as whether or not to grant political asylum to an individual. It can be useful as a starting point, if that information can be corroborated elsewhere. Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security felt otherwise in using Wikipedia to deny a request for asylum for a woman. An Appeals Court has now overturned that decision, noting the problems with using Wikipedia as a sole source of info, but the whole scenario should make you wonder. Did DHS really not have the ability to check the legitimacy of the woman's documents without resorting to Wikipedia? What sort of resources are provided to immigration officials that they're making judgments based on a Wikipedia page?
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Filed Under: asylum, immigration, sources, wikipedia


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  • identicon
    some guy, 3 Sep 2008 @ 3:22pm

    Perhaps tarrot cards are in order.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Woadan, 3 Sep 2008 @ 3:44pm

    The DHS is a vast bureaucracy, full of functionaries who make decisions on the basis of political correctness and expediency. (Along the lines of what is most likely to be politically useful for the career prospects for the decider.)

    Woadan

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Woadan, 3 Sep 2008 @ 3:46pm

    Oh! And don't forget that government workers can't be fired once they reach tenure. (Which is 2 years.)

    Woadan

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Sep 2008 @ 3:55pm

    I was going to say that the DHS lawyers only needs to find the references on the wikipedia page and submit that.

    I guess the "This article does not cite any references or sources." note on top of the wikipedia page on "Laissez-passer" (last edited three months ago) didn't inspire confidence on it's validity.

    The asylum-seeker in question had showed up with this document from Ethiopia.

    One would think that the INS, I mean, DHS could get some of their lawyers do a little bit more research on Laissez-passer and come up with some guidelines on handling this type of document.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2008 @ 6:05am

    I still think its funny . . .

    When you ask questions like this;

    "Did DHS really not have the ability to check the legitimacy of the woman's documents without resorting to Wikipedia? "

    big government republicans). They are chosen on two fundamental criteria; firstly political affiliation (which is of course a violation of the constitution in most cases, but an emperor isn’t answerable to a document anyway) and secondly, their complete and utterly reliable incompetence (remember, government doesn’t work).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe, 4 Sep 2008 @ 10:29am

    It is bad enough that my wife has to ask her high school students not to use wikipedia as a source (often their only source). For DHS to use it for determining asylum applications, how fantastic! Next the'll deny based on myspace and facebook pages.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2008 @ 10:36am

    Makes you wonder what all the Homeland security peeps use Wikipedia for. Plus it explains a lot too. ;)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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