The Refugee Protection Act, soon to be introduced by Senator Leahy (VT), has been introduced every Congress since 2010. It would make refugee and asylum case processing more timely and efficient, better assist torture-survivors and others with mental health issues resulting from the traumas refugees suffer, and continue support services beyond the initial resettlement period to help refugees access education, advance their careers and participate fully in their new communities.
The Refugee Protection Act seeks to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers are protected by the United States in the following ways:
- Increases protections for asylum seekers by eliminating the requirement that asylum claims must be filed within one year of arrival. This ensures victims who fear coming forward can still apply when they get the courage to do so, even if it is more than a year after they arrive.
- Authorizes the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to conduct a new study on the effects of expedited removal authority on asylum seekers.
- Requires changes in the immigration detention system to ensure access to counsel, medical care, religious practice, and visits from family.
- Provides immigration protections to allow certain family members of refugees to be considered as derivative applicants for refugee status.
- Authorizes the Secretary of State to designate certain groups as eligible for expedited adjudication as refugees.
- Prevents newly resettled refugees from slipping into poverty by adjusting the money they get annually for inflation and the cost of living.
Ask your Senators to support the Refugee Protection Act.