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.

Recent Articles:

Upholding President Biden's Asylum Commitments The Real Solution: Regional Response Rather than Border Closures, Mass Incarceration, and Refugee Returns A Sordid Scheme: The Trump Administration’s Illegal Return of Asylum Seekers to Mexico Orders from Above Human Rights Fiasco: The Trump Administration’s Dangerous Asylum Returns Continue A Year of Horrors: The Trump Administration’s Illegal Returns of Asylum Seekers to Danger in Mexico Sweeping Guatemala Agreement Illegal and Inhumane Is Guatemala Safe for Refugees and Asylum Seekers? Real Solutions to the Disorder at the Border Compact on Migration Adopted, But Without America Top 10 Reasons Family Incarceration is Not a Solution Trump's Fabricated Border Crisis Will Trump DHS Nominee Adhere to International Law? Remembering Juan Osuna A Sign of Desperation: Syrian Refugees are Selling Their Organs Parole Denials Lead to Increased Detention Under Trump’s Executive Order Executive Orders Could Block Access to Asylum for Vulnerable Individuals U.S. Should Not Turn away Asylum Seekers at its Borders Barring Refugees Would Hurt National Security President Trump to Issue Revised Executive Order—Will It Be Better or Worse? Questions for Secretary Kelly United States to Resettle Refugees Languishing Indefinitely in Australian Off-Shore Detention Centers The World Humanitarian Summit and Beyond Utah Shows the Way on Welcoming Refugees Obama’s Opportunity in Germany The Right to Run Deserving Asylum Seekers are Trapped in Detention, Like Military Interpreter Samey A Death in Limbo: How one refugee family’s loss demonstrates the toll of resettlement backlogs They Hear Us: The Toxic U.S. Debate about Refugee Resettlement Refugees Shouldn't Be Deported Federal Court Got It Right: Detaining Mothers and Children to Deter Other Asylum Seekers Is Wrong President’s Budget Recognizes Need for More Immigration Judges, but Congress Should Fund More Report Details Flaws in U.S. Immigration Detention System Alternatives to Detention are a No-Brainer Christmas in Immigration Detention U.S. Pledges to Resettle More Syrian Refugees, But Doesn’t Say How Many In-Country Refugee Processing for At-Risk Children in Central America: Potential Benefits and Risks More Needs to be Done to Address the Syrian Refugee Crisis Syrian Refugees: The Snow is Just One of Many Dire Challenges The Guardian: America has resettled 121 of Syria's 2m refugees. We must do better – now Refugees in Egypt Urgently Need Protection Bipartisan Call to Address Impact of Immigration Inadmissibility Provisions Addressing the Challenges of Immigrant Representation in Louisiana Human Rights First Researches Asylum System at U.S. – Mexican Border Asylum Seekers Facing Religious and other Persecution Impacted by Impediments to Protection, in Europe and the United States U.S. Government Should Take Steps to Address Challenges Due to Border Surge TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to Address the Border Crisis by Properly Funding Immigration Courts Fraud Prevention Tools in Immigration System Should Be Strengthened without Adding Unnecessary Burden Strong U.S. Commitment and Leadership Key to Launch of Global Resettlement Initiative for Syrian Refugees Asylum and the Border: Setting the Record Straight Faith, Human Rights Groups to Urge U.S. Leadership in Protecting the Persecuted Fraud Prevention Tools in Immigration System Should Be Strengthened without Adding Unnecessary Burden "Safe" Zones Should Not Trap Syrian Refugees Poll: Americans Overwhelmingly Support Asylum Reform to Protect Refugees ABA and CMS Event Focuses on ABA Civil Immigration Detention Standards and Need to Reform U.S. Immigration Detention Policies Debating Immigration Detention Reform Sec. Napolitano: Sign Exemptions for Refugees Mislabeled as Terrorists! Human Rights Stain, Public Health Farce A System Designed to Fail Haitians Refugee Protection Travesty