For Immediate Release: October 28, 2011
New York City – Today, the 125th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino issued the following statement on the United States’ commitment to protect refugees:
“The Statue of Liberty has served as a beacon of freedom for millions of refugees – men, women and children whose diverse heritage now makes up the rich fabric of our nation. This anniversary is a reminder of America’s promise to protect those who face persecution and danger in their homelands. Today, the United States is falling short of that commitment. We house thousands of refugees each year in jail-like conditions and continue to bar or delay access to asylum for individuals wrongly labeled as terrorists. The Obama Administration and Congress must work together to ensure that the nation’s flame of freedom continues to shine bright for generations to come.”
Earlier this month, Human Rights First issued Jails and Jumpsuits: Transforming the U.S. Immigration Detention System – A Two-Year Review. In this report, it notes that despite a 2009 commitment made two years ago to overhaul the immigration detention system, the United States continues to hold the overwhelming majority of its nearly 400,000 detained asylum seekers and other civil immigration law detainees in jails and jail-like facilities across the country. The report recommended a series of reforms to address this concern and bring U.S. detention practices into compliance with international human rights standards. An earlier report issued by the organization, Denial and Delay: The Impact of Immigration Law’s “Terrorism Bars” on Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the United States, examines how thousands of legitimate refugees who pose no threat to the United States have had their applications for asylum, permanent residence, and family reunification denied or delayed due to overly broad provisions of U.S. immigration law that were intended to protect the United States against terrorism.
For more information about these reports or to speak with Elisa Massimino, please contact Brenda Bowser Soder at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-370-3323.
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