September 2009-Asylum News
Petition for Cert Filed in Asylum Filing Deadline Case The American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigrant Justice Center and the law firm of Enow & Associates submitted a petition for certiorari in Gomis v. Holder, a case involving federal court jurisdiction to review decisions relating to the one-year asylum filing deadline. Human Rights First, along with other groups, submitted an amicus brief in support of the petition. The brief explains why judicial review of one-year deadline determinations is necessary – to ensure that refugees are not improperly denied asylum or deported back to countries where they face political, religious and other forms of persecution. Human Rights First and other amici petitioners were represented by Steven Schulman of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, and by Alice Clapman of Georgetown Law, who drafted the brief. Click here to read the petition for certiorari Click here to read the amicus brief Click here to read the appendix Congressional Briefing Examines Protection of Women and Children Fleeing Persecution On Sept. 30, 2009, Human Rights First joined the Tahirih Justice Center, the Women’s Refugee Commission, and award-winning actor Sam Waterson to educate members of Congress and their staff on U.S. policies and practices impacting access to asylum protection for women and children fleeing persecution. The briefing provided a critical assessment of the state of U.S. policy towards women and girls fleeing gender-based persecution and how some of those policies are preventing these asylum seekers from finding the protection they need and deserve. The briefing occurred in conjunction with the release of a new report by the Tahirih Justice Center entitled, Precarious Protection: How Unsettled Policy and Current Laws Harm Women and Girls Fleeing Persecution. Click here to read the Tahirih Justice Center’s report. Click here to read an article in the Washington Post from September 30, 2009 entitled, “Clearer Rules Urged For Asylum Seekers System Fails to Protect Women, Study Says” Human Rights First delivers statement on U.S. detention of asylum seekers to UN Human Rights Council On September 17, 2009, the 12th Session of the Human Rights Council held a panel on migrant detention. HRF’s Andrew Hudson delivered a statement that highlighted the U.S. practice of detaining asylum seekers, and the steps that the U.S. and other states must take to reform immigration detention procedures that are inconsistent with international human rights standards. A statement issued by the International Detention Coalition and signed by 141 organizations encouraged all States to consider and implement legislation and policy that ensures than human rights standards are maintained whenever States detain migrants. The United States, represented by DHS, also issued a statement describing its plan to refashion the current detention system into a new model that is better suited to DHS’s civil detention authority and ensure humane treatment of detainees, including access to needed medical care and legal resources. Click here to read HRF’s statement to HRC panel Click here to see HRF’s Andrew Hudson delivering statement to HRC panel Click here to read UNHCR’s statement to HRC panel Click here to read the U.S. statement to HRC panel Click here to read the NGO Joint Statement to the HRC Detention Meeting 17th Sept 2009 MPI Releases a Report on Immigration Detention In its new report, Immigrant Detention: Can ICE Meet its Legal Imperatives and Case Management Responsibilities?, MPI analyzes whether the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has adequate information systems to collect all the data necessary for compliance with legal, detention management and humanitarian standards. To explore this question, the report takes a snapshot of one night in January 2009. By analyzing select data for all 32,000 detainees in ICE custody that night, MPI examines the sufficiency of the agency’s database and case tracking system. This report is particularly timely as ICE begins to take steps to implement its initiative to shift from a penal model of detention to a civil model of detention. Click here to read the full report Human Rights First Annual Dinner The 2009 Human Rights First Awards Dinner will take place on Thursday, October 22, at Chelsea Piers in New York City. This year, Human Rights First will honor Brazilian human rights defender Sandra Carvalho, Colombian human rights defender Principe Gabriel González, and will salute Michael Posner, founding executive director of Human Rights First. Tom Brokaw will be a special guest. For more information, click here. To make reservations, please call 212-845-5215 or send an e-mail to [email protected].