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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights  & The Leadership Conference Education Fund
The Nation's Premier Civil and Human Rights Coalition

Oppose Graham Amendment #1 to S. 744 To Bar Return to Country of Origin by Asylee

Advocacy Letter - 05/17/13

Source: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Recipient: Patrick Leahy and Charles Grassley


The Honorable Patrick Leahy, Chairman
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Charles Grassley, Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, we urge you to oppose Senator Graham’s amendment #1 to S. 744, which would terminate asylee or refugee status for any person who returns to the country from which he or she sought protection from persecution.

Refugees and asylees have many legitimate reasons for returning to their countries of origin, particularly years later once they have attained permanent resident status in the United States, and once conditions that caused them to flee may have changed. Or there may be urgent family situations that lead them to return, at great risk, such as to visit an ill or dying relative or to help provide care for a minor child.

Graham amendment #1 would automatically terminate asylee and refugee status for any person who returns to the country of nationality or last residence. Such automatic termination is contrary to the international obligations of the United States under the Refugee Convention, which requires an examination of whether the person returned voluntarily with the intention to re-avail him or herself of the protection of the country of nationality and whether such protection was actually received. Moreover, Graham amendment #1 is unnecessary under existing U.S. law. Current law already provides for possible termination of refugee and asylum status in cases where the timing and circumstances of a person’s return to his home country may indicate fraud in the underlying refugee claim, or a lack of need for continuing protection of an asylee.

For these reasons, we urge you to oppose Graham amendment #1. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact June Zeitlin, Senior Counsel, at (202) 263-2852 or zeitlin@civilrights.org.

Sincerely,

Wade Henderson
President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin
Executive Vice President

Our Members