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Lawsuit filed after refugee excluded from national poetry contest

On Behalf of | Apr 13, 2018 | asylum

Those seeking asylum in Louisville and throughout the rest of the U.S. may be doing so for a number of different reasons. Listed among these is likely to escape discrimination they may have been experiencing in their countries of origin due to their ethnicity, religious beliefs or other reasons. They may certainly not expect to encounter it here. If they do, the hope is that they are able to rise above it and continue on their path to seeking permanent residency (if that is their ambition).

The opportunities to grow and progress are among those things refugees covet. Such growth is on full display in the case of a refugee from Zambia. The teen, who currently lives in Maine, has an asylum application pending and has been issued a Social Security number. He certainly appears to also have taken full advantage of the chances afforded to him after it was announced that he had won a statewide poetry competition. State-level winners of this competition are supposed to then be able to compete at the national competition in Washington, D.C. However, the teen has reportedly been barred entry because he is not an American citizen. A lawsuit has since been filed by the local school board against the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in an attempt to allow him to participate.

While certain restrictions may be placed on refugees related to their residency status, they should still be afforded the everyday opportunities to excel in their endeavors. Those who are not may need to consider legal action similar to what has been undertaken on this teen’s behalf. Those looking to initiate such action may find an attorney to be a powerful ally in their efforts.

Source: “Maine asylum seeker wins poetry contest, excluded for not being citizen” Gordon, Clay, Apr. 12, 2018