This report calls on Congress to eliminate a technical asylum filing deadline in U.S. law that has barred thousands of legitimate refugees with well-founded fears of persecution from receiving asylum in the United States. The report finds that in the 12 years since the provision took effect, more than 53,400 asylum applications have been rejected, denied or delayed based on the deadline and many of these cases have been pushed unnecessarily into the already overstretched immigration court system. The report uses real case examples and Human Rights First's own refugee representation experience to demonstrate the harmful effects of the provision. That provision has consistently denied asylum to persecuted individuals in ways that are inconsistent with the nation's leadership in protecting victims of political, religious and other forms of persecution and has caused inefficiencies and delays in the asylum system and diverted significant governmental resources.
Human Rights First builds respect for human rights and the rule of law to help ensure the dignity to which everyone is entitled and to stem intolerance, tyranny, and violence. Human Rights First protects people at risk: refugees who flee persecution, victims of crimes against humanity or other mass human rights violations, victims of discrimination, those whose rights are eroded in the name of national security, and human rights advocates who are targeted for defending the rights of others. These groups are often the first victims of societal instability and breakdown; their treatment is a harbinger of wider-scale repression. Human Rights First works to prevent violations against these groups and to seek justice and accountability for violations against them. Human Rights First is practical and effective. We advocate for change at the highest levels of national and international policymaking. We seek justice through the courts. We raise awareness and understanding through the media. We build coalitions among those with divergent views. And we mobilize people to act. Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. To maintain our independence, we accept no government funding. For more information please visit www.humanrightsfirst.org.