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?

Filed Under: asylum, immigration, sources, wikipedia

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  1. 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.

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