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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 30, 2016
Download Over the last year Human Rights First has issued several reports on this country’s escalating detention of asylum seekers. As detailed in those reports, Human Rights First has found that...
September 30, 2016
New York City - As today marks the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, Human Rights First applauds the Obama Administration for reaching its goal of resettling 85,000 refugees, including at least 10,...
September 21, 2016
New York City—Human Rights First today applauded President Obama for hosting yesterday’s Leaders’ Summit on Refugees, which brought together members of the international community to work together...
September 19, 2016
New York City—In remarks today before the U.N. High Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants, Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer urged countries to uphold commitments to refugee protection laws and...