Goodlatte Bill Aims to Divide Families and Harm Refugees in Need of Protection

Human Rights First urged Congress to reject the “Securing America’s Future Act” introduced by Representatives Goodlatte, Labrador, McCaul, and McSally, which would hurt American families and punish refugees seeking U.S. protection. The bill includes provisions that would hold families with children in immigration detention for longer periods of time, and seeks to block access to asylum by increasing the already strenuous credible fear screening hurdle even further.

“Don’t be fooled by the false ‘security’ narrative touted by Representatives Goodlatte, Labrador, McCaul, and McSally. In the face of bi-partisan support for legislation addressing the plight of DREAMERS, this highly partisan bill resurrects a laundry list of anti-immigrant and anti-refugee proposals that have failed to earn bipartisan support in the past. This bill would also punish vulnerable refugee families fleeing persecution for seeking asylum in the United States,” said Human Rights First’s Eleanor Acer.

“Sending people seeking protection from persecution to be criminally prosecuted and detained in immigration prisons for long periods of time does not secure America’s future, it is the antithesis of what this country stands for. Congress should reject this bill and any other provisions that pit DREAMERS against vulnerable refugee families.”

The bill reflects the same false claims made by the Trump Administration in its statement of principles and by Attorney General Jeff Sessions attempting to portray refugees and asylum seekers as threats and frauds. Human Rights First has documented the many effective anti-fraud and security safeguards that are currently in place. Additionally, the pass rate for asylum seekers proceeding through the credible fear screening process has dropped from fiscal year 2016 when it was 78.6 percent, to 68 percent in June 2017 in the wake of the Trump Administration’s executive orders targeting refugees and asylum. This drop raises serious concerns that asylum seekers with real protection claims are being turned away.

“Congress should pass clean bipartisan legislation that protects DREAMERS and not sacrifice the safety of refugees and vulnerable families and children to anti-immigrant and anti-refugee voices who want to abandon this country’s leadership and ideals,” added Acer.

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