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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 14, 2016
New York City—Human Rights First today welcomes the Obama Administration’s decision to increase the number of refugees resettled in the United States to at least 110,000 in 2017, up from 85,000 in...
August 31, 2016
Two major summits slated for September 2016 present opportunities for the United States to lead, and advance key components of, a comprehensive initiative to address the global refugee crisis and...
August 31, 2016
Washington, D.C. — Human Rights First today released “Respecting Rights and Securing Solutions,” a comprehensive plan for how the United States should address the global refugee crisis. The...
August 18, 2016
New York City—In the wake of the announcement by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that it will end its reliance on private prisons, Human Rights First today called on the...