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Home / Biography / Eleanor Acer

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.

Featured Work

September 20, 2021
WASHINGTON -- As the Biden administration ramps up its expulsion of Haitians and making arbitrary distinctions between groups fleeing persecution and danger, Human Rights First today urged the...
September 16, 2021
NEW YORK – Human Rights First today welcomed a federal court order blocking the Biden administration from expelling families to danger under the Title 42 policy, which uses public health as a pretext...
August 25, 2021
WASHINGTON -- Last night the Supreme Court denied the government’s request for an emergency stay in Biden v. Texas, failing to block the Texas district court injunction forcing the government to...
August 24, 2021
More than seven months since President Biden took office, the U.S. government continues to turn away and block people seeking protection at U.S. ports of entry along the southern border and to expel...