In the aftermath of the recent tragic shooting of a woman in San Francisco by an undocumented man, the handling of civil immigration detainers by local law departments has been heavily scrutinized.
AILA Doc No. 10031510 | Dated March 15, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) applauds Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, for introducing "The Refugee Protection Act of 2010" to ensure refugees and asylum seekers are protected by the United States. The bill's introduction today comes on the thirtieth anniversary of the Refugee Act of 1980, a landmark piece of legislation that sought to fulfill the United States' obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention. Currently, that law falls short of meeting those obligations and this bill will help correct those disparities by protecting refugees and asylum seekers from torture while preserving the United States as a land of hope for those who flee persecution.
"This is a significant piece of legislation that comes at the right time given the global unrest that troubles our world," said Bernie Wolfsdorf, President of AILA. "America has stood as a beacon of hope for so many and this bill gives hope to those who are in most need - refugees and asylum seekers. The bill would grant much needed protections to those fleeing persecution and brings about much needed reform in the adjudication system. I am hopeful Congress will act swiftly and in a bipartisan manner to fix the immigration process for refugees and asylees."
In addition to refugees and asylum seekers, the Refugee Protection Act would protect immigrants who are detained and placed in deportation proceedings. "Everyone who represents immigrants has seen painfully unfair cases where a client is held in a jail cell for weeks-often in substandard conditions--then deported even though the immigration judge made a mistake or did not apply the law correctly," said Wolfsdorf. "Especially now with hundreds of thousands of cases being processed by courts each year, mistakes do happen, and our system must have a way to ensure the mistakes get caught."
It would make the following changes, among others, to current law:Increased Protections for Asylum Seekers:
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 10031510.