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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.

November 16, 2016
On Sunday, November 13th Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a resettlement agreement with the United States for some of the refugees in Australia’s off-shore detention centers...
November 16, 2016
THE U.S. ASYLUM SYSTEM is facing a growing crisis. Over the last four years, the backlog of asylum applications pending with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) Asylum Division has...
October 25, 2016
Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First along with Patterson, Belknap, Webb, and Tyler LLP filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case of Jennings v. Rodriguez, arguing that U.S....
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...