On human rights, the United States must be a beacon. America is strongest when our policies and actions match our values.More
Home / Biography / Olga Byrne

Olga Byrne

Senior Associate, Refugee Protection

As Senior Associate in Refugee Protection, Olga Byrne conducts research relating to the protection of refugees, U.S. asylum law, policies, and practices, and the human rights of individuals held in immigration detention.

Olga has over 10 years of experience working in research and policy advocacy, legal services, and program development on issues affecting the human rights of immigrants and refugees, particularly children, families, and individuals in detention. She is called upon frequently as an expert on “children on the move” and teaches a course on child migration at Fordham University School of Law.

Prior to joining Human Rights First, Olga directed a program at the Fordham Law School Feerick Center for Social Justice aimed at improving state and local policies affecting immigrant children, and also taught a course on migration policy affecting children and families. Previously, Olga was a 2011-2012 U.S. Fulbright-Schuman Scholar, researching European policy trends toward migrant children. She has provided consulting services to international and domestic NGOs conducting research, developing performance metrics, and developing program plans. From 2006 to 2011, Olga worked on national programs at the Vera Institute of Justice designed to improve access to legal services for immigrants in removal proceedings. Olga has also worked in legal services, representing victims of domestic violence at University Settlement Society, as well as a litigation associate at the law firm of Thelen, Reid & Priest in New York.

Olga is a graduate of Cornell University and Fordham Law School. She chairs the subcommittee on Children and Youth of the NYC Bar Association’s Committee on Immigration and Nationality, and is an Advisory Board member of the Local Human Rights Lawyering Project at American University Washington College of Law.

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 04, 2017
New York City—Human Rights First today expressed alarm over statements made this morning by Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly in which he implied that the vast majority of asylum seekers...
May 03, 2017
The U.S. government is illegally turning away asylum seekers at official land crossings all along the southern border. Border agents must refer a person seeking asylum or expressing a fear of...
April 11, 2017
Washington, D.C.—In response to comments made today by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Human Rights First cautioned that efforts to criminally prosecute those who cross the U.S. southern border...