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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.

July 20, 2017
New York City—Human Rights First today said that any action taken by the Trump Administration to force asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while awaiting removal hearings is a violation of...
July 19, 2017
Washington, D.C.—In response to today’s Supreme Court decision on the Trump Administration’s travel ban, Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer issued the following statement: “We welcome the Supreme...
July 18, 2017
Read more and Download También está disponible en español Earlier this year the Trump Administration and its Congressional allies advanced proposals to foist U.S. refugee protection obligations...
July 12, 2017
Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First said today that the Trump Administration’s decision to slam the door on tens of thousands of vulnerable individuals is a shameful abdication of America’s...