Asylum News–April/May 2010

Eliminate the Arbitrary One-Year Bar to Asylum

Human Rights First, along with 86 other faith-based, human rights, legal services and refugee assistance organizations and 81 individual asylum law practitioners, pro bono attorneys, law professors and other experts, sent a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives urging them to support H.R. 4800, the Restoring Protection to Victims of Persecution Act, eliminating the one-year deadline for filing asylum applications. The one year deadline is a technical requirement that has led to the denial, rejection, or delay of thousands of requests for asylum protection in the United States and created unnecessary inefficiencies in the asylum adjudication process.

Read the letter.

Read HRF’s press release and our recommendations).

Read the Restoring Protection to Victims of Persecution Act).


USCIS Ombudsman: Recommendations on Resettlement Adjudications

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman issued a set of recommendations to improve the adjudication of emergent or denied refugee applications. The Ombudsman made three primary recommendations for USCIS: i) publically state the criteria by which it expedites certain emergent refugee cases and how to access the expedited process; ii) clearly state the reason for denying a refugee application; and iii) issue guidance on how to file a Request for Reconsideration for a denied application.

Read the full report.

Read Human Rights First’s Recommendations on Resettlement.

HRF Meets with Iraqi Refugees in Jordan, Lebanon & Recommends Reforms to Resettlement System

Human Rights First researchers just returned from Jordan and Lebanon where they met with Iraqi refugees. Many have had their resettlement applications delayed, often due to the extended delays in the inter-agency security clearance process. These and other Iraqi refugees are facing increasing difficulties as their savings run out. In addition to stressing that the United States should recommit itself to ensuring adequate funding for assistance programs in the region, Human Rights First recommended reforms to the U.S. resettlement system, including improved staffing, timeliness, and coordination of the security clearance process; detailed denial letters so that refugees can submit meaningful appeals; and a fast-track process for refugees at imminent risk of physical harm.

Read a blog post by HRF researchers, Jesse Bernstein and Parastou Hassouri, for specific recommendations.


Naturalization Ceremony & Refugee Act Commemoration

On March 30th, USCIS swore in as U.S. Citizens 27 refugees from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. This special naturalization ceremony commemorated the 30th Anniversary of the Refugee Act of 1980, the bipartisan bill that established the legal framework for the U.S. refugee and asylum systems and affirmed the U.S. commitment to providing refuge to victims of religious, political, ethnic and other forms of persecution.

Read about the ceremony.

Watch HRF’s video commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the Refugee Act.

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Published on July 2, 2010


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