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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.

August 04, 2017
Last week, the House Judiciary Committee marked up the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 391), a severely anti-asylum law that would potentially change the asylum system in the...
July 26, 2017
The provisions included in the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 391) would severely undermine access to asylum in the United States. The bill would lead to the deportation of...
July 20, 2017
On January 25, 2017, President Donald Trump issued an executive order calling on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to make criminal prosecution of immigration offenses a “high priority”—even...
July 14, 2017
Washington, D.C.—Human Rights First today condemns U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Tucson Sector’s decision to increase referrals for criminal prosecution of individuals—including...