2.02.2005

ACTION ALERT!: "REAL ID" Act Threatens Refugee Safety

Under the guise of counter-terrorism, the right-wing is trying to restrict the ability of refugees to receive asylum from the human rights abuses that led them to flee their own homelands. Already, under current law, U.S. immigration authorities--now under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security--are extremely hostile to asylum seekers, often twisting facts and resorting to strained interpretations of the law to deny claims--so much so that even conservative federal judges have offered sharp criticism. New legislation just introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chair James Sensenbrenner (a man who ought not to have the word "sense" in his name), would curtail refugee protections even further. Human Rights First is trying to rally opposition to nip these anti-asylum provisions in the bud:

The REAL ID Act, introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) on January 26, 2005, includes provisions that place refugees at an increased risk of persecution and erode this country's historic commitment to protect those seeking safe haven.

The bill resurrects several controversial anti-immigrant and anti-refugee provisions dropped from the final version of the "Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004" in December 2004 due to widespread opposition. If enacted, the bill's anti-refugee provisions would fundamentally change U.S. asylum law. Many refugees who have fled brutal human rights abuses -- including torture, rape, and other horrific violence -- will be barred from receiving asylum under these provisions.

Please contact House Members and urge them to preserve our nation's commitment to protecting refugees by opposing the anti-refugee provisions of the REAL ID Act.