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asylum seekers and the bureacracy of the american dream

Lead reporters on story:

Noah Caldwell, Joseph Jaafari and Lisa Thomson


Thousands of people enter into the United States seeking asylum. Though they oftentimes have similar financial issues as refugees entering the borders, the process of getting asylum in the U.S. is dramatically different. Years-long wait-times and mental issues — oftentimes made worse by stress from the asylum process — make asylum-seekers one of the more disenfranchised groups of immigrants in the country.

Data used for this project was taken from a variety of governmental and non-governmental sources relating to the U.S. asylum process and the support - or lack thereof - of torture victims in American society:

The most recent data on the asylum interview backlog was taken from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' 2015 annual report, found here:

The most recent data on the current wait times for ayslum interviews with a U.S.C.I.S. officer was taken from the C.I.S. website, updated on April 25, 2016:

Data on the prevalence of trauma among victims of torture was taken from the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs, which conducted the first comprehensive study of torture victims residing in the U.S., entitled "Descriptive, inferential, functional outcome data on 9,025 torture survivors over six years in the United States.":

Data on the proportion of refugees who are also torture victims came from the Center for Victims of Torture, which updated this research in September, 2015 :


Calculator - input your zip code and find out (1) where your closest asylum office is (2) how long you’d have to wait and (3) how far away the office is. Oftentimes the office is hundreds of miles away and those who seeking asylum are not allowed to work for 18 weeks or longer.

Audio - Three different audio elements that tell the stories of different asylum seekers, two from Syria and one from Iran.

Video - story of Muhanned. Edited by Joseph Jaafari, filmed by George Goss and Carlotta Muhammad.


Graphics from the Noun Project, with attributes to: United States image: Joao Santos Waiting Room: Luis Prado Play: Zlatko Najdenovski Voice Record: Rohith M S Clock: Dylan Marriott


DarkGray: #A9A9A9 WhiteSmoke(Background): #F5F5F5 DimGray: #696969 Red: #FF0000

Google Fonts:

Roboto Condensed 700 Bold Noticia H1- 120px - BOLD; ALL CAPS; DimGray H2- 60 px - BOLD; all lower; DarkGray H3- 45px; ALL CAPS; DarkGray; italic; flush right; margin-right 10%; merging-left: 80%\ H4- 10 px- ITAL; DimGray P- 16 px


George Goss, Nick Perez, Yuxin Gao and Carlotta Mohamed (video footage)


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