Protect Asylum Seekers in New Immigration Bill
Everyone who enters the United States seeking asylum is automatically put into jail. Sometimes they spend weeks or more there before they are even granted the first step toward asylum. But with the new immigration bill in Congress, we can change that!
All asylum seekers — even people who have committed no crime and are simply fleeing violence — are currently put into detention facilities upon arrival in the United States, until they are granted a “credible fear” interview with a government official. Some are jailed for weeks or months until this interview, which determines if they can legally request asylum. Even after the interview, they may still be kept imprisoned while waiting for a resolution of their request for asylum! The indefinite jailing of asylum seekers violates human rights and our deepest values. (Learn more.)
Take action to defend asylum seekers, including refugees and torture survivors. Right now, you have a unique and rare opportunity to change the system. The new comprehensive immigration reform bill includes significant and much-needed protections for refugees, asylum seekers, and torture survivors. But during the amendment process on the Senate floor, these positive measures could be weakened or even eliminated entirely!
Send a message to the Senate asking them to protect asylum seekers and keep improvements to the asylum process in the new immigration bill.
As the Senate takes up S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, I urge you to preserve the provisions in the bill that provide humane alternatives to detention for asylum seekers. Protections for vulnerable populations -- such as refugees who are survivors of torture and human trafficking -- must not be sacrificed.
As it is currently written, S. 744 would do the following:
-Discourage the detention of torture survivors
-Ensure that detainees are interviewed within five days of detention, allowing them to explain their story and request asylum
-Increase oversight of detention facilities to curb abuses
-Require the establishment of community alternatives to detention programs
-Provide access to legal aid
Unnecessary detention of asylum seekers violates human rights, as well as our deepest values. With this legislation, we have a key opportunity to do the right thing.
Please do not let the provisions above be weakened or removed. Know that you have my support and that of many others to stand firm in protecting refugees, asylum seekers, and torture survivors.
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