Human Rights First Opposes Attempts to Undermine Asylum Protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Congress works to pass emergency funding packages, Human Rights First strongly opposes any attempts to use these bills to change asylum law. Such actions would undermine the integrity of legislative procedures and imperil the foundational principles of protection that the United States is bound to uphold and the asylum system is designed to guarantee. 

“Using emergency funding packages to fast-track changes that would make the U.S. asylum system less accessible to those who need it most is a political trick nobody should fall for,” explains Robyn Barnard, director of refugee advocacy at Human Rights First. “These are not simply policy changes; they violate U.S. obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and represent a significant departure from our country’s long tradition of offering sanctuary to the world’s most vulnerable individuals. Lives are at stake here.”

Human Rights First urges Congress to honor its commitment to uphold the rights of individuals seeking asylum by separating any potential changes to asylum law from the emergency funding process. Such changes require open, transparent discussion given the United States’ international legal obligations and long history of being a refuge for the oppressed.  

Emergency funding packages, including those on national security and foreign policy, should remain focused on delivering immediate relief to impacted communities.  

Human Rights First and other civil society organizations issued a memo with key policy demands to Congress. The organization has issued multiple sets of recommendations for strengthening asylum and humanely managing the border.  


Published on November 9, 2023


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