To qualify for asylum in the United States, applicants get a one hour time window to tell their story and show their fear. This is how they do it.
Well-Founded Fear is a feature documentary film that examines what goes on behind the electronic doors of the asylum office, the dramatic real-life stage where American ideals about human rights collide with the nearly impossible task of trying to know the truth. It is an intimate world never before seen on screen – asylum officers, lawyers, translators, economic migrants, legitimate refugees looking for protection, all focused on the confidential interviews that are the heart of the asylum process. With unprecedented access, Well-Founded Fear enters the closed corridors of the INS (the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service) for an extraordinary close-up look at what has been called the Ellis Island of the 21st Century. The documentary has become a core curriculum element in most immigration law programs, as well as central to training of each new class of Asylum Officers in the US Department of Homeland Security.