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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.

May 23, 2017
The United States has, over decades, established rigorous, interagency procedures to vet and screen asylum seekers. Human Rights First has detailed the asylum system’s fraud and security safeguards...
May 19, 2017
New York City—As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley prepares to travel to Jordan and Turkey, Human Rights First today called on Ambassador Haley to...
May 10, 2017
Last Friday, Secretary of Homeland Security John F. Kelly defended the controversial deportation of a Honduran woman and her young child. “Now remember the vast majority of the people who come up...
May 08, 2017
The BBC reports that organ trafficking is a flourishing business in Lebanon as desperate Syrian refugees sell parts of their bodies to try to survive. One Syrian boy—whose father and...