Both the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform legislation, S.744, and its sister bill in the House, H.R.15, contain important provisions regarding refugees and asylum seekers. But odds are you haven’t heard about these provisions. So, take a moment to educate yourself that this legislation would:
- extend the Lautenberg Amendment, which facilitates the resettlement of certain persecuted religious minorities, while also giving the President the authority to designate new refugee populations;
- repeal the one-year filing deadline for asylum applications, which is an arbitrary, technical barrier that prevents many deserving individuals from enjoying asylum in the U.S.;
- improve protection and reunification for refugee families;
- streamline the process for determining asylum cases and helps alleviate backlog in immigration courts;
- provide refugees overseas with legal representation and requires that denials of refugees’ applications for resettlement be communicated in writing;
- establish a process for gaining U.S. citizenship for individuals who have no nationality and are therefore “stateless”;
- allow applicants with pending Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitions, U visa applications (for crime victims), and T visa applications (for victims of trafficking) to receive work authorization while their cases are reviewed;
- extend and improve the Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) programs.
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