Over the past few months, Human Rights First has been working hard to make sure that immigration reform include much-needed changes to the U.S. asylum system. And after myriad meetings on Capitol Hill, now our hard work paid off.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved in a bipartisan vote yesterday an immigration reform bill that includes key provisions to eliminate the wasteful asylum filing deadline. Now, the bill moves to a full Senate vote–marking an important step toward reforming the U.S. asylum system.
For over three decades, we have been matching asylum seekers with pro bono attorneys. We know firsthand the various barriers asylum seekers face when they arrive in the United States. Since becoming law in 1996, the asylum filing deadline has mandated that applicants file for asylum within one year of arrival. The result: thousands of bona fide refugees have been barred from receiving asylum in the United States—many of whom arrive in the country traumatized, without knowledge of the U.S. legal system including the filing deadline.
This is not the end of our work. In the coming weeks, we will continue to press the entire Senate to support these provisions. And we will do the same when the bill moves to the House of Representatives.
Check out our special immigration reform microsite EndtheDeadline.org for updates on the asylum-related provisions in the bill.