Isatu Jalloh had never been on a plane in her life when, in October 2006, she made the two-day trip to Philadelphia from her grandmother’s village in Sierra Leone. As the airplane flew over New York City, the 18-year-old stared out the window, trying to see whether she could catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, that world-famous symbol of freedom for the oppressed. After living in a war-torn country, being raped by soldiers and mutilated by her tribespeople, Isatu hoped she was safe at last. Excited to be in America and exhausted from the trip, the nervous teenager handed her passport to an immigration official. “This isn’t a photograph of you,” he told her. “I know,” Isatu replied softly. “I would like to apply for political asylum.”