Asylum News 67

HRF and Others File Amicus Brief in Supreme Court Case In June 2008, Human Rights First, along with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Human Rights Watch, and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants filed an amicus brief in the case Negusie v. Mukasey that is currently pending before the Supreme Court. The case raises the issue of whether the “persecutor bar” to asylum and withholding of removal applies to acts engaged in under duress. An immigration judge, in a decision affirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, denied Negusie asylum on the grounds that he had participated in the persecution of prisoners while being forced to work as a prison guard in the Eritrean army, and held that whether or not he acted under coercion was legally irrelevant. Amici argue that denying a refugee asylum and withholding of removal as a persecutor of others without regard for whether that refugee’s actions were carried out under duress contradicts the plain language and intent of the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980 and violates U.S. obligations under the 1967 Refugee Protocol. Amici were represented by Steven Schulman and Patricia Millett of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP. Click here to read the amicus brief American Purgatory – Struggles Facing Asylum Seekers A new audio documentary, American Purgatory, illustrates the many hurdles that refugees face pursuing asylum in the U.S. The piece follows the case of an HRF client and the volunteer lawyers who represented him pro bono with his asylum case. It also includes interviews with asylees, policy experts, NGO representatives, lawyers, and U.S. government officials. Click here for more information or to listen to the piece online. American Purgatory will air: Sunday, August 3, 2008, 6 pm, on WNIJ/WNIU (DeKalb, IL, 89.5 FM) Sunday, August 3, 2008, 5 pm, on WNNZ/WFCR (Western Massachusetts, AM 640) Wednesday, August 20, 2008, 8 pm, on KQED (San Francisco, CA, 89.3 & 88.5 FM) Thursday, August 21, 2008, 2 am, on KQED (San Francisco, CA, 89.3 & 88.5 FM) Saturday, August 23, 2008, 1 pm, on KQED (San Francisco, CA, 89.3 & 88.5 FM) Material Support Bar Blocks Iraqi Refugees A new Dan Rather Reports piece entitled “The High Price of Ransom,” features the plight of some Iraqi refugees awaiting resettlement to the U.S. due to the “material support” bar to refugee and asylum status. According to the piece, the cases of approximately 1,000 Iraqis remain on hold, some because they were forced to pay a ransom to groups who had kidnapped a family member. Also according to the piece, the Department of Homeland Security said that around 600 Iraqi cases have received a ‘waiver’ and will eventually be able to travel. DHS still anticipates that it will meet the goal of resettling 12,000 Iraqi refugees by the end of September 2008. Click here to watch “The High Price of Ransom” Click here for additional coverage and media on the issue of Iraqi refugees

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Published on July 1, 2008

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