6-21-2013By Sara Jane Ibrahim
Refugee Protection Program
This week as we mark World Refugee Day on June 20, we urge you to please call your Senators to let them know why you care about refugees and ask them to protect the refugee and asylum provisions of the Senate immigration bill, including the elimination of the asylum filing deadline.
This deadline mandates that refugees apply for asylum within one year after arriving in the United States, and as a result, has barred thousands of bona fide refugees seeking haven from persecution.
Meet CJ, a gay man who had been persecuted due to his sexual orientation in Peru. After CJ came to the United States, he didn’t know about asylum. He was diagnosed with HIV and became even more afraid of what could happen to him if he were forced to return home. He fell into depression and spoke to a mental health specialist who told him about asylum—but the filing deadline was already long past.
Provisions in the immigration bill that protect refugees and asylum seekers may be debated over the next week on the Senate floor, and some Senators may try to change or remove them in the bill. We need your help urgently.
We know that phone calls from constituents make a real difference to Senators. Together, we can help make sure this country does not deny protection to people facing persecution. Help mark World Refugee Day this week by calling your Senators.
Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, and ask for your Senator’s office. Tell them why you care about refugees and asylum. Ask them to protect the asylum and refugee provisions of the bill and to support the elimination of the filing. Tell them that you are calling to urge your Senator to protect refugees – including by keeping Section 3401 of the Senate immigration bill S. 744 intact. A filing deadline bar, no matter what length, denies asylum to refugees, creates inefficiencies and delays, and is not necessary.