Asylum News–February 2010
Register now for “Renewing U.S. Commitment to Refugee Protection: the 30th Anniversary of the Refugee Act of 1980″
On March 16, 2010 in Washington D.C., Human Rights First and Georgetown University Law School are hosting a symposium in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the Refugee Act of 1980 and its continuing importance for refu gees around the world. Please join U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres; Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration, Eric Schwartz; Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA/16th), officials from the Departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security, NGO representatives, refugees, academics, asylum practitioners, and other experts in a discussion about the goals of the Refugee Act and current U.S. refugee and asylum policies.
ABA Releases Report on the Immigration Adjudication System
After conducting a comprehensive review of the U.S. immigration adjudication system, the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Immigration released is long-anticipated report, “Reforming the Immigration System: Proposals to Promote Independence, Fairness, Efficiency and Professionalism in the Adjudication of Removal Cases.” The study found that pressures on the adjudication system have grown exponentially in recent years, as the number of people in immigration proceedings has increased and immigration enforcement efforts have heightened. The study recommends the creation of an independent immigration court, either as an Article I court or as an independent agency. It also makes a series of recommendations related to funding and staffing and suggests legal changes necessary to improve the fairness and efficiencies of immigration processes. Read the executive summary of the report.
Congressional Members to Secretary Clinton: Help LGBT Refugees
Forty-four members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary Clinton urging the U.S. State Department to implement measures to help ensure the protection of LGBT refugees who flee violence or persecution only to face further persecution and violence in the countries they have sought refuge. Congressional members expressed their concern for refugees from countries such as Iraq, Iran, or other countries that have criminalized or are taking steps to increase penalties for LGBT individuals, such as Uganda. Among the recommendations in the letter are to make expediting processing for resettlement available for LGBT refugees and, for those refugees who are under consideration for resettlement to the United States, to improve coordination of security clearance procedures in order to enable these procedures to be completed in a timely manner.
Read a recent analysis of the plight of LGBT refugees by Human Rights First’s Jesse Bernstein in the Huffington Post.
Read Human Rights First’s fact sheet on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Human Rights First joins Congressional briefing on Haitian Migration and the U.S. Response after the Earthquake
On February 4, 2010, in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Human Rights First, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), World Relief, and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) briefed Congressional staff on the steps the United States can and should take to improve U.S. migration for Haitians, including ensuring access to asylum screenings for interdicted Haitians with protection concerns, extending humanitarian parole to Haitians waiting in the family visa backlog, and considering other options for Haitian migration to the United States.
Read “A System Designed to Fail Haitians,” a blog post by Eleanor Acer, Director of Refugee Protection at Human Rights First.
Read the statement from The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
Read more about Haitians and the U.S. Asylum System.
Previous Asylum Newsletters