PBS Premiere: June 5, 2000
Imagine that your life has fallen apart — maybe you've been tortured or raped, or maybe you've gotten out just in time. You'll have one chance to start a new life in the U.S., and an hour to tell your story to a neutral bureaucrat. Now imagine yourself on the other side of the desk, listening to people seeking refuge from any one of a hundred countries. The law says you can offer asylum if you find that someone has a well-founded fear of persecution. Three times a day, your job is to decide their fates. Political asylum — who deserves it? Who gets it? With unprecedented access, filmmakers Michael Camerini and Shari Robertson enter the closed corridors of the INS to reveal the dramatic real-life stage where human rights and American ideals collide with the nearly impossible task of trying to know the truth.