CVT Statement on Senate’s Comprehensive Immigration Reform Legislation
St. Paul, MN – The Center for Victims of Torture™ (CVT) today released the following statement in response to the comprehensive immigration reform legislation announced by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” in the Senate:
“A high percentage of the torture survivors we treat at our St. Paul Healing Center are asylum seekers who suffered unimaginable abuse at the hands of repressive regimes,” said Curt Goering, executive director of CVT. “Unfortunately, many face obstacles in the current asylum process that exacerbate the severe mental health symptoms of the torture they've suffered.”
“For example, the current filing deadline for asylum creates major inefficiencies in the asylum process and is an impediment for legitimate asylum seekers, including torture survivors, to receive the protection they are entitled to and need,” explained Goering. “Eliminating the deadline has long been a priority for CVT, and we are grateful to the ‘Gang of Eight’ for doing so in their legislation.”
“CVT is pleased to see that several provisions in the proposed bill are designed to improve the efficiency of the asylum and immigration court processes,” said Goering. “Torture’s far-reaching and complex wounds can run deep into a survivor’s psyche, body and spirit. Thus, for even the most resilient human beings, the journey to healing can be complicated and fraught with setbacks. Our clients with cases before the immigration courts tell us repeatedly that the worst part is the agony of waiting. Sometimes the process takes years, during which time they are often separated from family members and continue to face the terrifying possibility of being returned to their torturers. The stress of this uncertainty makes a survivor’s healing and adjustment even more difficult.”
“We know there is much more to be done to approve comprehensive immigration reform this year,” said Goering. “However, based on the Senate’s proposal, we are encouraged deserving refugees and asylum seekers will not be forgotten as the discussions continue.”
CVT is a nonprofit based in Minnesota with an office in Washington D.C. and projects in Africa and the Middle East. Visit www.cvt.org.
brobideau [at] cvt [dot] org
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