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Eleanor Acer

Senior Director, Refugee Protection

As the director of Human Rights First’s Refugee Protection program, Eleanor Acer oversees Human Rights First’s research and advocacy on issues relating to refugee protection, asylum, and migrants’ rights. Eleanor advocates, speaks and writes regularly on issues relating to the human rights of refugees and migrants, including legal representation, detention, U.S. asylum law and policy, U.S. global refugee protection and resettlement policies, and protection from xenophobic and bias-motivated violence. She works closely with Human Rights First’s pro bono legal representation team, conducts field research, has authored numerous reports and articles, and has testified before the U.S. Congress.

Eleanor was awarded the Louis J. Lefkowitz Award for Public Service by Fordham University School of Law in 2007. She was selected by the American Bar Association to serve on its Commission on Immigration, and serves on the Advisory Board of the International Detention Coalition. She was also vice chair of the Refugee Council USA from 2006 to 2008. She has taught classes on refugee protection and migrants rights as an adjunct professor at the New School’s Graduate Program in International Affairs.

Before coming to Human Rights First, Eleanor was an associate handling federal litigation at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart LLP. She has coordinated mentoring programs and has served on the International Human Rights Committee and Immigration Committee of the Association of the Bar of New York, as well as the Board of Advisors to the Crowley Program in International Human Rights at Fordham University School of Law. Eleanor received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and her B.A. in History from Brown University.

September 19, 2017
New York City—In response to President Trump’s United Nations General Assembly address, in which he falsely claimed that resettling one refugee is as expensive as supporting ten individuals in...
September 13, 2017
Washington, D.C.—Following reports that the administration is considering dropping the number of admitted refugees to an all-time low for fiscal year 2018, Human Rights First said that such a move...
August 22, 2017
Juan Osuna, the former director of the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), passed away suddenly last week. He will be sorely missed. Juan served in...
July 27, 2017
Washington, D.C.—As the Trump Administration’s refugee ban executive order hits the six-month mark, Human Rights First today released a new analysis detailing the impacts of this policy on...