Asylum & Refugee Advocacy | Center for Victims of Torture

Asylum & Refugee Advocacy

CVT's core policy initiatives focus on advocating for access to fair asylum and refugee systems for survivors of torture seeking protection in the United States. To do this, CVT's Policy team uses multiple strategies to shine a light on the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees before Congress and before the public.

A staggering number of refugees and asylum seekers are torture survivors. While our clinicians work to heal their wounds, our policy team advocates for just and humane systems through which refugees and asylum seekers—and the survivors among them—can seek protection in the United States, consistent with their fundamental human rights and the United States’ legal obligations. The policy team’s public education and advocacy emphasize the real-life experiences of CVT’s clients.

Here are recent actions by the CVT Policy team and suggestions for ways you can get involved.

We must work together to save asylum. Watch the video and click here to join CVT.

Join CVT in the Fight to Save Asylum

#EndMPP - In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's more urgent than ever to end the "Remain in Mexico" policy (MPP). Check out the video and read more here.

CVT AT THE BORDER - Video Playlist
Update from Tijuana
Andrea Cárcamo, senior policy counsel, visited the U.S. Southern border with colleagues, assessing ways to alleviate suffering among those seeking refuge from torture and persecution. In this video, she describes the difficult conditions experienced by refugees and asylum seekers who have been affected by the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

In May 2019, Andrea Cárcamo spent a week in El Paso meeting with asylum seekers in El Paso detention facilities. Read her article here and check out her daily video logs in the playlist.


Over more than three decades, CVT has witnessed extraordinary healing, courage and resilience among clients, while at the same time we have seen confusion and misunderstanding from many in the public about the lives and challenges faced by refugees and asylum seekers. To help clarify misconceptions and shed light on the realities of the lives of torture survivors, CVT has published eight facts that we hope will help dispel some of the myths about who refugees and asylum seekers really are. Read all Eight Facts about Refugees and Asylum Seekers here.

Partnerships: Check out this summary of CVT's asylum advocacy partners.



CVT’s digital ad strips away the rhetoric surrounding asylum and features children answering a simple but powerful question: Should we help asylum seekers? Watch it here.
Read the press release here.


CVT Statements, Media Clips, Letters & Publications

CVT Article: Resiliency at the U.S. Southern Border
July 21, 2021
CVT published this article about the work to support the resiliency and secondary trauma needs of legal service providers working with asylum seekers. The article is also available in Spanish.

Letter to DHS: Regarding Guzman Chavez
July 21, 2021
CVT joined this letter to Secretary Mayorkas, urging DHS to avoid prolonged detention of asylum seekers with reinstated removal orders.

Letter to DHS: Stop Targeting Asylum Seekers Fleeing Torture
July 13, 2021
CVT joined this letter to Secretary Mayorkas urging him to stop the DHS and ICE targeting of asylum seekers fleeing persecution and torture for detention and deportation.

Letter to President Biden: Welcome Afghans Fleeing Violence
July 8, 2021
As a member of the RCUSA coalition, CVT joined this letter to President Biden, with an urgent request to welcome Afghans fleeing violence and persecution, expedite family reunification petitions, and grant humanitarian parole applications.

Coalition Letter to President Biden: Immigration Detention Reform
June 30, 2021
As a member of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, CVT joined this letter to President Biden, urging prompt action to address civil and human rights violations in the U.S. immigration detention system.

CVT Article: Getting One Step Closer to a Humane Asylum System
Jun 29, 2021
Alison Beckman, MSW, LICSW, senior clinician for external relations, wrote this article about her visit to Casa Alitas, a migrant shelter in Tucson, in preparation for extending new forms of care at the Southern border.

Letter to DHS: Change Course on Enforcement
June 28, 2021
CVT joined this letter to Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas, urging DHS and ICE to change course on enforcement to protect families and communities and keep them whole.

CVT Backgrounder: U.S. Immigration Detention Must be Phased Out
June 25, 2021
CVT published this backgrounder: Arbitrary & Cruel: How U.S. Immigration Detention Violates the Convention against Torture and Other International Obligations

Letter to Senate Appropriations Committee: Funding Needed for Asylum Case Management
June 23, 2021
CVT endorsed this letter pushing for ORR funding for asylum case management/legal counsel and border shelter humanitarian assistance. 

Senate Resolution: World Refugee Day Commitment
June 22, 2021
CVT supported this resolution from U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, committing to promote the well-being of refugees and displaced persons.

Coalition Statement: Border Welcoming Centers for Arriving Families
June 21, 2021
CVT signed this statement calling for a move away from ICE’s reliance on hotels and for investment in the creation of NGO-run post-release Border Reception and Welcome Centers.

Letter to DHS & ICE: Release Transgender and HIV-Positive Asylum Seekers
June 16, 2021
CVT joined NGOs in this letter to DHS and ICE demanding all detained people who are LGBTQ or living with HIV be released from immigration detention facilities immediately.

Letter to DOJ and DHS: Interim Final Rule
June 8, 2021
CVT signed this letter to the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security expressing concern about reported plans to use an interim final rule to initiate new asylum processing.

CVT Statement: Redesignation of TPS for Haiti
May 25, 2021
CVT issued this statement as Haiti was redesignated for TPS. “While we celebrate this good news, we must push back against the policies that continue to create hardships for the Haitian community,” noted Andrea Cárcamo, CVT senior policy counsel.

Letter to DHS: Opposition to Expanded DHS Detention, Transfers & Increased Spread of COVID-19
May 25, 2021
CVT joined this letter calling out the fact that increasing the number of people in immigration detention poses a risk to public safety.

Letter to Department of Justice: Opposition to Harsh Fees
May 21, 2021
CVT joined this letter to the Department of Justice and Executive Office for Immigration Review regarding the rule imposing fees on asylum applications.

Rulemaking Comments: Barriers to USCIS Benefits & Services
May 19, 2021
CVT filed these comments with steps USCIS must take to ensure that asylum seekers can gain meaningful access to asylum, work authorizations, and the benefits that come with them.

CVT Article: Remove the Word “Alien” from our Laws
May 6, 2021
Andrea Cárcamo, CVT senior policy counsel, and Ariel Zarate, MA, LSW, intern in the DC office and a mental health and psychosocial support technical advisor, wrote this blog post about the harmful use of the word “alien” in the U.S. immigration system.

Explainer: Expedited Border Screening and Adjudication
May 6, 2021
CVT worked with coalition partners to write this fact sheet that explains the flaws in the expedited processing of asylum requests at the U.S. Southern Border.

CVT Statement: Increased Refugee Admissions Cap
May 3, 2021
CVT issued this statement in response to President Biden raising the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2021 from 15,000 to 62,500.

Letter to Attorney General Garland and Secretary Mayorkas: Restore Meaningful Access to Asylum
Apr. 15, 2021
CVT joined this letter urging creation of a welcoming, effective, and timely asylum system that enhances – and does not sacrifice – due process and compliance with U.S. refugee law and treaty obligations.

Letter to the White House: Phase out Immigration Detention
Apr. 2, 2021
As part of the recent #FirstTen to #CommunitiesNotCages Week of Action, CVT joined this letter to President Biden, Vice President Harris and Secretary Mayorkas, demanding that the administration “begin the long overdue process of phasing out the use of detention from our immigration system.”

Letter to Departments of State and Homeland Security: Improve Refugee Security Vetting
Apr. 2, 2021
Together with 18 organizations, CVT joined a letter to Secretaries Blinken and Mayorkas with recommendations for improvements to the refugee security vetting system. The letter outlines recommendations “to ensure that refugee cases are not unfairly delayed or denied.”

Legislative Success in Georgia: Maximize Global Talent in Georgia
Apr. 1, 2021
On the last day of the legislative session, H.R. 11 passed unanimously out of the Georgia House of Representatives. With coalition partners, CVT Georgia drafted and advanced this legislation. A bipartisan House Study Committee will now work in the off-session to identify and remove barriers to full economic participation faced by immigrants and refugees in Georgia.  

Letter to Congress: Immigration Detention
Mar. 31, 2021
CVT joined Amnesty International and 127 other organizations in this letter to Congress, urging support for the Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act.

Letter to President Biden: Recent Asylum Statements and Actions
Mar. 30, 2021
CVT joined this letter to President Biden, urging him to reverse the Trump administration’s harmful policies against asylum seekers and to stop using rhetoric that bolsters the prior administration’s inhumane messaging on U.S. refugee protections

Letter to DHS, ICE and the White House: Concerns with ICE Detention System
Mar. 29, 2021
CVT joined this letter urging the Biden administration to turn its attention to the abusive ICE detention system.

Letter to President Biden: Sign a Revised Refugee Admissions Goal
Mar. 24, 2021
CVT joined this letter to President Biden, urging him to raise the refugee admissions goal to 62,500 this fiscal year.

Letter to Congress: FY22 DHS Appropriations Bill
Mar. 15, 2021
CVT joined this letter calling on Congress to reduce ICE and CBP funding by 50 percent this year.

Letter to Atlanta ICE Field Office: Release Egidio Gonzalez Tacen
Mar. 15, 2021
CVT joined this letter to Thomas P. Giles, Atlanta ICE Field Office director, calling for immediate action in the case of Egidio Gonzalez Tacen, who was at imminent risk of dying in ICE custody at Stewart Detention Center. Mr. Tacen was released.

Letter to Departments of Homeland Security and State: Wind Down MPP
Mar. 12, 2021
CVT joined more than 100 organizations in this letter to Secretaries Mayorkas and Blinken urging addition action to bring to an end the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

Letter to White House: Potential Title 42 Expulsions of Minors
Mar. 12, 2021
CVT joined this letter to President Biden, Secretary Mayorkas, Ambassador Rice and Advisor Sullivan, expressing concern about use of the Title 42 policy to inhumanely expel 16- and 17-year-old unaccompanied children at the Southern border.

CVT Endorsement: Keeping Women and Girls Safe from the Start Act
Mar. 11, 2021
CVT joined civil society organizations in endorsing the Keeping Women and Girls Safe from the Start Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen current United States’ and international actors’ efforts to address gender-based violence perpetrated during humanitarian crises.

Letter to President Biden & Vice President Harris: Gender Equity & Equality
Mar. 10, 2021
CVT joined this letter to President Biden & Vice President Harris, asking them to ensure gender equity and equality are key tenets of U.S. foreign policy.

Letter to DHS: End Expedited Removal and Immigration Detention
Feb. 16, 2021
CVT joined this letter to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), calling on Secretary Alejandros Mayorkas to reject the use of expedited removal and immigration detention as it ends policies that effectively eliminated humanitarian protections at the border in violation of U.S. law and treaty obligations.

Letter to DHS: Disapprove ICE Agreements
Feb. 16, 2021
CVT signed onto this letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, urging immediate disapproval of agreements made between the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and ICE Council 118 American Federation of Government Employees (the ICE union), which put asylum seekers, immigrants in detention, workers and the public at risk of harm.

Letter to Biden/Harris Administration: Review All Cases in ICE Detention
Feb. 11, 2021
CVT joined over 120 coalition partners in this letter to leadership in the Biden/Harris administration, calling for a review of all individuals held in ICE custody and release those who do not meet stated enforcement priorities and those at heightened risk due to COVID-19.

Letter to President Biden: Rescind Remaining Harmful Asylum Policies
Feb. 9, 2021
CVT joined more than 90 faith-based, legal, humanitarian and human rights organizations in response to the president’s executive order on asylum, calling on the administration to address remaining harmful policies.

CVT Statement: Restoring Refugee Resettlement
Feb. 5, 2021
CVT issued this statement in response to President Biden’s Executive Order to restore and enhance refugee resettlement in the United States.

CVT Report: Design a Trauma-informed Asylum System
Feb. 4, 2021
CVT released this report outlining concrete steps the Biden/Harris administration should implement to build a genuinely trauma-informed asylum system. Download the full report here and an executive summary here.

Letter to President Biden: De-prioritize Migration-related Prosecutions
Feb. 4, 2021
CVT joined this letter to President Biden, asking him to halt prosecutions for unauthorized entry and reentry violations, and de-prioritize the use of criminal prosecutions for migration related offenses.

Letter to Atlanta ICE Office: Implement New Civil Ommigration Enforcement Priorities
Feb. 4, 2021
CVT Georgia joined a coalition of Georgia immigrant rights and social justice organizations in this letter, reminding the Atlanta ICE Field Office to abide by the new enforcement priorities announced by the Biden administration.

Response to UN: Questionnaire on Returning Asylum Seekers
Feb. 1, 2021
CVT, with Oxfam and RAICES, provided answers to a questionnaire from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants regarding the return of asylum seekers to places where they face persecution.  

Letter to President Biden: End Misuse of Title 42 Public Health Authority
Feb. 2, 2021
CVT joined 100 faith-based, legal services, humanitarian and human rights organizations, calling on President Biden to: uphold U.S. law, protect those seeking protection, and end the Trump-era Title 42 policy that misuses public health authority to expel asylum seekers and migrants.

Letter to the White House: Designate DED/TPS for Cameroon
Jan. 28, 2021
Via the Leadership Conference, CVT joined this letter to President Biden, calling for an 18-month designation of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Cameroon in light of violence, unrest, COVID-19 and additional crises facing the country.

Letter to the White House: Release People in ICE Custody
Jan. 26, 2021
CVT joined partners in this letter calling for the immediate release of all people currently detained in ICE custody and cessation of all enforcement activity, deportations and transfers between immigration detention facilities and from local, state, and federal jails and prisons into immigration detention.

Amicus Brief: End MPP
Jan. 22, 2021
CVT joined an amicus brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), detailing how MPP subjects individuals who are seeking safety to life-threatening danger in Mexico, how the policy blocks access to humanitarian protection in the U.S., and the risks confronted by refugees who are returned to the countries from which they fled.

CVT Statement: CVT Applauds President Biden’s Executive Actions
Jan. 21, 2020
CVT issued this statement applauding President Biden’s day one executive actions that will begin to dismantle cruel and discriminatory policies established under the Trump administration, and to chart a new course.

Message to Biden/Harris Administration: 2021 Immigration Action Plan
Jan. 20, 2021
CVT joined this news release from Immigration Hub, calling on the Biden/Harris administration to consider important reforms from the 2021 Immigration Action Plan.

CVT Explainer: Details on the Trump Administration’s Final Efforts to Destroy Asylum
Jan. 7, 2021
Andrea Cárcamo, senior policy counsel, writes about the four final rules being implemented by the Trump administration in its last days in office, all of which are particularly harmful to asylum seekers.

Letter to President-elect Biden: Rescind the Anti-Immigration EOs
Dec. 18, 2020
CVT was among many signers of this letter sent to President-elect Joe Biden, encouraging him to follow through on quickly rescinding harmful executive orders and presidential proclamations and restarting immigration.

Op Ed Piece: What this Human Rights Day, and a new administration, mean for torture survivors
Dec. 10, 2020
On Human Rights Day, Curt Goering, CVT executive director,
 writes in MinnPost, “For survivors of torture like our clients, Inauguration Day cannot come soon enough.”

CVT Article: The Necessity of Human Rights Year-Round, Including the Right to Seek Asylum
Dec. 10, 2020
This Human Rights Day, CVT comments on the ways that recovering better can apply to individuals not only living in the U.S. with COVID-19, but those who are stuck at the border, those who have been separated from their children, and those who have contracted the virus and have no way of receiving treatment due to detainment.

CVT Article: Immigration Detention Separates Families
Nov. 18, 2020
Andrea Cárcamo, CVT senior policy counsel, writes about how the U.S. use of immigration detention results in family separation, yet is often overlooked. This article is also available on Medium and IMMPrint.

Priorities: Protect Immigrant Children
Nov. 11, 2020
CVT joined 15 children’s and human rights organizations in announcing 10 priorities for the next administration to restore the safety and well-being of immigrant children.  

Letter to Secretary of State: Rebuild the Refugee Resettlement Program
Nov. 3, 2020
As part of Refugee Council USA, CVT signed this letter to Secretary Pompeo and Acting Secretary Wolf calling for a rebuilding of the refugee program and a clear path toward welcoming 15,000 refugees to the U.S. in FY21.

Partner Report2020 Labor Trafficking Roundtable Report
Nov. 3, 2020
CVT, in partnership with Georgia Criminal Justice Coordinating Council’s Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force, published the 2020 Labor Trafficking Roundtable Report. This work group created recommendations to guide Georgia’s efforts to combat trafficking and support survivors. Read the report here.

CVT StatementRefugee Resettlement Cap of 15,000 is Shameful
Oct. 28, 2020
CVT released this statement in response to the president’s official refugee cap for Fiscal Year 2021 at 15,000. Curt Goering, CVT executive director, wrote, “This is not what the American people want, nor what those fleeing persecution and danger must be afforded.”

Letter to President Trump & Acting Secretary Wolf: Designate Cameroon for TPS
Oct. 26, 2020
CVT joined 80 other organizations in calling for immediate 18- month designation of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Cameroon in light of violence perpetrated by Boko Haram, civil and political unrest, economic and humanitarian strife, and the COVID-19 crisis in the country.

Rulemaking Comments: Asylum and Withholding of Removal Procedures
Oct. 23, 2020
CVT submitted these comments in opposition to the proposed rule as it would undermine due process by taking away asylum seekers’ fair opportunity to demonstrate their status as refugees before an immigration judge, and would do so by burdening asylum seekers in ways wholly unrelated to the merits of their claims.

Letter to UN: Endorsement of Letter on Unnecessary Surgeries in ICE-contracted Center
Oct. 23, 2020
CVT endorsed a letter from Congresswomen Tlaib, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar and Pressley sent to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and others, calling for the launch of independent investigations into the recent allegations of human rights abuses committed by the Department of Homeland Security, its components and its private contractors. As the news release explains, “The letter comes just over a month after initial reports of an ICE-contracted center in Georgia performing a staggering number unnecessary surgeries—including partial or full hysterectomies and other gynecological procedures—on immigrant women without their consent."

StatementInvestigation Needed
Oct. 22, 2020
CVT joined civil society organizations in this statement denouncing DHS border externalization in Guatemala and calling for an immediate investigation.The statement is available in Spanish here.

Letter to Executive Office for Immigration Review: Allow Comments in Immigration
Oct. 8, 2020
CVT joined more than 80 organizations in this letter calling for a 60-day comment period on proposed rules which will negatively affect asylum seekers.

CVT Statement: U.S. Proposed Refugee Resettlement Number is Pathetic
Oct. 1, 2020
In response to the Trump administration’s setting the U.S. 2021 refugee cap at an all-time low, CVT issued this statement, stating:  “Since his first day in office, President Trump and certain administration officials have worked to dismantle the U.S. refugee resettlement program, and they’ve done so with intolerable prejudice for partisan ends.”

Letter to Congressional Delegation: Conduct a Thorough Investigation
Sept. 25, 2020
CVT Georgia joined more than 90 Georgia leaders from the legal, medical, faith, immigrant and human rights communities in this letter to the Georgia Congressional delegation in decrying the long history of inhumane treatment of immigrants in ICE custody in the state.

A Call for Leadership: Reaffirm GBV as Grounds for Asylum
Sept. 22, 2020
CVT joined U.S.-based civil society organizations in calling for strong and consistent leadership in the effort to respond and end gender-based violence globally. 

CVT Release: Investigate Abuses in ICE Detention
Sept. 18, 2020
CVT called for investigation of allegations that women in Irwin County ICE detention are being subjected to sterilization procedures, unnecessarily and without their consent, among other abuses.

Amicus Brief: USCIS Litigation
Sept. 11, 2020
CVT joined organizations in filing an amicus brief in the litigation of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) v. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Letter to Congress: Do Not Increase Funding for CBP or ICE
Sept. 16, 2020
CVT joined 230 organizations in this letter urging Congress to reject any anomalies or any other funding mechanism that would increase funding for CBP or ICE in a FY21 Continuing Resolution.  

Letter to the White House: Set Refugee Goal at 95,000
Aug. 31, 2020
CVT signed onto this letter to President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo, urging a refugee resettlement goal of 95,000 for FY2021.

Letter to DHS: Redesignate South Sudan for TPS
Aug. 24, 2020
CVT signed this letter to Dept. of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, asking him to extend and redesignate South Sudan for Temporary Protected Status.

Rulemaking Comments: DOJ & DHS Proposed Rule on Security Bars & Processing
Aug. 10, 2020
CVT filed these comments opposing the proposed rule as there is no legitimate public health or national security rationale for excluding asylum seekers.

Letter to Vice President Joe Biden: If elected, Implement DED for Venezuelans
July 30, 2020
CVT joined 48 organizations in this letter calling on Joe Biden to implement Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Venezuelan nationals residing in the United States on day one of a potential Biden administration.

Letter to Congress: Vote YES on the NO BAN ACT
July 17, 2020
CVT joined 400-plusorganizations in this letter calling on Congress to vote YES on the NO BAN Act, which would end harmful Muslim and African bans and protect against future, similarly discriminatory bans.

News Media: Sahan Journal
July 16, 2020
Andrea Cárcamo, CVT senior policy counsel, is quoted in this article by Hibah Ansari, who writes, “Cárcamo noted that asylum seekers from Central America often cite gender-based violence and gang violence, and would encounter particular difficulties with the rule.”

Rulemaking Comments: Procedures for Asylum and Withholding of Removal; Credible Fear and Reasonable Fear Review
July 15, 2020
13 national torture treatment centers including CVT submitted comments to the Executive Office of Immigration Review, opposing new rules that will make it more difficult for survivors to obtain asylum, and return many to danger.

News Media: Just Security
July 15, 2020
Scott Roehm, director of the Washington, D.C. office, wrote
this article titled, “Trump’s Latest Assault on Asylum Has Nothing to Do with National Security or Public Health.”

CVT Article: Yet Another Brick in Trump’s Border Wall: A Blanket Ban on Asylum
July 14, 2020
“Asylum seekers have the right to seek protection in the United States as required by domestic and international law . . . The president is exploiting a global crisis as a means to racist, bigoted ends,” writes Andrea Cárcamo, CVT senior policy counsel in this article here, which was also published at Medium.

Letter  to Congress: Immigration & Naturalization Fee Waivers
June 29, 2020
CVT joined this letter urging Congressional leadership to included fee waivers in discretionary funding.

CVT Statement: Final Rules on Work Authorizations for Asylum Seekers
June 26, 2020
Andrea Cárcamo, senior policy counsel, issued this statement in opposition to new rules which considerably limit the ability of asylum seekers to obtain work authorizations.

Letter to the CDC: Rescind the Order
June 17, 2020
CVT joined Georgia-area professionals in public health, medicine, law and immigration in sending this letter to CDC Director Robert Redfield, urging him to rescind his order blocking asylum seekers from entering the U.S. at the borders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Letter to DHS: End Policies Affecting Immigrant Children
June 16, 2020
CVT joined 122 organizations on this letter urging the Department of Homeland Security to end policies instituted under cover of the coronavirus that threaten the safety and family unity of vulnerable immigrant children.

Letter to Congress: Include Latin America & Caribbean in Emergency Spending Package
June 8, 2020
CVT joined this letter to Congressional leadership, urging assistance as COVID-19 spreads in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Letters to Congress: Do Not Bail Out USCIS
June 4, 2020
CVT joined letters to the House and Senate, calling for conditions on a bailout of U.S. Citizen & Immigration Services that would reverse its focus on enforcement.

Letter to DHS & CDC: Retain Protections for Asylum Seekers and Unaccompanied Children
May 27, 2020
CVT joined 250 organizations in this letter to the Department of Homeland Security and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling for safe response to the needs of people fleeing to the U.S. border during the pandemic.

News Media: TPT Almanac
May 1, 2020
Curt Goering, executive director, appeared on Almanac to discuss CVT's work to support clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. He commented, “ . . . the hope of reunification with one’s spouse, one’s children, with one’s parents, is one of the major factors that allow survivors who’ve been through these horrendous experiences to have hope for the future. And when those hopes are crushed or the prospect of that has been in effect eliminated, it really sets them back. The process of recover y is a long one and the hope of being reunited is one of the things that keeps people going.”

News Media: USA Today
Apr. 28, 2020
Trump's Coronavirus Order Scapegoats Immigrants and Doesn't Make Us Safer – a USA Today op ed by Linda Chavez, director of the Becoming American Initiative, and Scott Roehm, CVT director of the Washington, DC office.

Rulemaking Comments: Do Not Limit Asylum Seeking
Apr. 23, 2020
CVT submitted comments to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, opposing newly proposed immigration restrictions that will impact torture survivors among asylum seeking populations.

Letter to Governor Kemp: Support Refugees
Apr. 21, 2020
CVT joined a coalition of organizations in this letter to the Georgia governor, highlighting the contributions of refugees to health and safety during COVID-10.

CVT Statement: Immigration Suspension Would be Political Grandstanding at its Worst
Apr. 21, 2020
CVT responded to reports that President Trump is preparing to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States.

Letter to Georgia Dept of Public Health: Evacuate Immigrant Detention Centers
Apr. 17, 2020
CVT joined this letter to Governor Kemp and leaders in the Georgia Department of Health, calling for release of people currently detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in Georgia.

CVT Article: Refugees and Asylum Seekers Brace Themselves for COVID-19
Apr. 16, 2020
As COVID-19 spreads around the world, CVT describes the impacts and the steps people can take to help refugees and asylum seekers.

Letter to DHS: Rescind Policy of Expulsion, Especially for Survivors of GBV
Apr. 16, 2020
CVT joined organizations in this letter urging DHS to immediately rescind its policy of expelling asylum seekers at the border, which puts survivors of domestic violence at great risk. Here is the letter in Spanish.

Letter to DHS & CDC: Expulsions of Unaccompanied Children
Apr. 16, 2020
CVT joined 75+ organizations on this letter urging DHS and CDC to cease the expulsion of unaccompanied children and to exempt them and asylum seekers from U.S. southern border entry restrictions.

Letter to Congressional Leadership: FIRST Act
Apr. 16, 2020
CVT joined this letter in support of the Federal Immigrant Release for Safety and Security Together Act (FIRST Act).

Letter to DHS & CDC: Objection to Expulsions
Apr. 16, 2020
CVT joined 125 organizations objecting to DHS’s use of COVID-19 and the Mar. 20 order of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carry out the Trump administration’s goal to close the southern border.

Letter to DHS and EOIR: Barriers to Counsel
Apr. 16, 2020
CVT joined this letter calling on officials to address access to counsel issues faced by asylum seekers subject to the Remain in Mexico policy.

CVT Article: TPS for Venezuela
Apr. 15, 2020
Andrea Cárcamo, senior policy counsel, writes in this blog post about the urgent need to designate Venezuela for temporary protected status. This article is published on Medium.

Letter to Congress: Congressional Fourth Package (COVID #4)
Apr. 13, 2020
CVT joined more than 150 organizations in this letter supporting refugee priorities in COVID-19-related legislation.

News Media: Torture Survivors among Minnesota's Most Vulnerable During Pandemic
Apr. 9, 2020
Curt Goering wrote this opinion article, providing an update on the pandemic’s impacts on clients and on CVT’s work.

Letter to Governor Kemp: Moratorium on Evictions & Foreclosures
Apr. 1, 2020
CVT joined a large coalition in this letter to the governor of Georgia, urging him to halt evictions and foreclosures as the COVID pandemic impacts people with disastrous results.

Letter to Departments of State and Homeland Security: Extend Visa Validity during Pandemic
Mar. 31, 2020
CVT and other organizations urged Secretary of State Pompeo and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Wolf to extend visa validity for immigrants and refugees.

Rulemaking Comments: Fees for Asylum Seekers
Mar. 30, 2020
CVT submitted comments opposing fees for filing for asylum in immigration court.

Letter to Department of Justice: Close Immigration Courts During COVID-19 Crisis
Mar. 26, 2020
CVT joined more than 70 organizations in urging immediate closure of immigration courts to help protect the safety of asylum seekers

CVT Article: Rescind Public Charge Rule
Mar. 24, 2020
“The public charge rule never should have been implemented. It is even more dangerously irresponsible now, as we face a pandemic that continues to spread in the United States. The rule must be rescinded immediately,” writes Michelle Rodenburg, CVT policy intern.

Letter to DHS: Expelling Asylum Seekers is Illegal
Mar. 23, 2020
CVT joined more than 114 civil-society organizations in calling on the Department of Homeland Security to respect the rights of asylum seekers.

Letter to ICE and EOIR: Prioritize Safety of Detainees
Mar. 23, 2020
CVT joined advocacy groups in calling on ICE and Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to prioritize the safety of employees, detained asylum seekers and immigrants and their legal representatives during the COVID-19 crisis.

Letter to Congress: Include Immigrants in COVID Aid
Mar. 21, 2020
CVT joined human rights organizations in asking Congress to include immigrant families in their request for coronavirus relief aid.

Letter to Trump Administration: Extend Public Comments Period During COVID Crisis
Mar. 19, 2020
CVT joined human rights organization in asking the White House to extend the comments period during the coronavirus crisis.

Letter to Minnesota Officials: Support for Vulnerable Populations
Mar. 19, 2020
CVT joined 200 human rights organizations in this letter to Minnesota legislative leaders, requesting that vulnerable populations are included in emergency response.

CVT Statement: Closing U.S. Southern Border to Those Most in Need is Unlawful, Immoral
Mar. 18, 2020
Curt Goering, executive director, issued this statement amid reports that the Trump administration may close the U.S. borders to asylum seekers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Letter to Congress: Defund Hate
Mar. 17, 2020
CVT joined more than 250 civil society organizations in this letter asking Congress to scale back budgets for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

CVT Article: Impacts of MPP in Mexicali
Mar. 16, 2020
On a recent visit to Mexicali, Mexico, Andrea Cárcamo, senior policy counsel, observed many negative impacts of the "Remain in Mexico" policy on asylum seekers.

Letter to DHS: End Migrant Protection Protocols
March 6, 2020
CVT joined more than 150 organizations in this letter calling for MPP to end and to allow asylum seekers to pursue protection under the law. 

Letter to Congress: Independent Immigration Court
Feb. 18, 2020
CVT joined more than 50 organizations in calling on Congress to establish an independent court system that would restore due process and judicial independence

CVT Statement: NO BAN Act Mark-up
Feb. 11, 2020
“As the president may add more countries to the already-expanded banned list, Congress must pass this bill to make clear that Members oppose, and will work to roll back, the president’s discriminatory immigration and refugee-related agendas,” writes Andrea Cárcamo, senior policy counsel, in this statement.

CVT Statement: Muslim Ban Expansion
Jan. 31, 2020
Neal Porter, director of international services, released this statement as the White House today expanded its list of banned countries.

CVT Statement: Sen. Blumenthal Resolution
Jan. 28, 2020
Andrea Cárcamo, senior policy counsel, issued this statement as Senator Blumenthal introduced a resolution to end onerous asylum policies.

News Media: The Hill
Jan. 28, 2020
At this third anniversary of the president’s Muslim Ban, Curt Goering, executive director, published this op ed in The Hill. He writes, “For some of the most desperate among us, January has become very dark, indeed.”

Letter to ICE & DHS: Release Transgender Immigrants
Jan. 21, 2020
CVT joined 90 NGOs in this letter demanding that ICE and DHS release all transgender immigrants.

CVT Statement: Blocking EO Barring Resettlement
Jan. 15, 2020
CVT issued this statement applauding the block to the executive order allowing local officials to ban refugee resettlement

CVT Article: Five Major Barriers to Asylum
Jan. 13, 2020
“Other countries take their cue from the actions of U.S. presidents. A world leader who doesn’t shelter the world’s most at-risk populations is no leader at all,” writes Andrea Cárcamo, senior policy counsel.

CVT Administrative Rulemaking Comments: Opposing Changes to Asylum Process
Jan. 13, 2020
CVT submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security urging withdrawal of its proposal to create new work-related barriers for asylum seekers.

CVT Administrative Rulemaking Comments: Proposed Fees for Asylum and Work Applications
Dec. 30, 2019
CVT submitted comments to the Dept. of Homeland Security, opposing proposed fees for asylum seekers.

CVT Article: New Punitive Proposed Rules for Asylum Seekers
Dec. 17, 2019
Alison Beckman, MSW, LICSW, senior clinician for external relations, and Andrea Cárcamo, senior policy counsel, wrote this blog post about the impacts of new rules regarding work permits and fees.

Letter to Trump Administration: Temporary Protected Status
Nov. 22, 2019
CVT joined over 100 NGOs in this letter urging the administration to extend and redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Yemen and Somalia.

CVT Press Release: Refugee Protection Act 2019
Nov. 21, 2019
CVT issued this press release commending introduction of the Act, which ensures the U.S. affords refugees and asylum seekers protections that they need and deserve. 

Statement for the Record: “Remain in Mexico” Policy
Nov. 19, 2019
CVT filed this statement opposing the policy, which exacerbates trauma for families who have fled torture and persecution.

Letter to Mexican Government: Migrant Protection Protocols
Nov. 19, 2019
CVT joined humanitarian organizations in this letter asking the Mexican government to meet its obligations to respect the dignity, needs and rights of persons affected by the program known as “Remain in Mexico.” Read the letter in Spanish here.

CVT Administrative Rulemaking Comments:  Removal of the 30-Day Processing Provision
Nov. 8, 2019
CVT filed comments opposing the proposed removal of the provision that asylum seekers’ Employment Authorization Documents must be processed within 30 days.

Open Letter to Refugees
Nov. 4 2019
CVT joins partners in Refugee Council USA in expressing solidary for refugees in this letter, writing “As a united community of advocates, Refugee Council USA wants you to know that you are not alone. We stand alongside you, and proclaim that refugees are always welcome here.”

Amicus Brief: Third-Country Rule
Oct. 16, 2019
CVT signed onto this brief challenging the rule prohibiting asylum for those who transit through a third country.

CVT Article: "The Walking Dead" is Not Fiction in Central America
Oct. 8, 2019
Andrea Cárcamo wrote this article for Medium, about how a TV show parallels the real-life experiences of asylum seekers.

CVT Statement: Refugee Admissions Cap is Harmful and Irrational
Sept. 27, 2019
CVT issued this statement in response to the presidential determination of only 18,000 refugee admissions for FY20.

Hearing Memo: Hearing on Detention
Sept. 26, 2019
CVT and advocacy groups authored this memo for the House Judiciary Committee hearing on detention, providing members with an overview of the bleak immigration and detention landscape in the U.S.

Statement for the Record: ICE Detention
Sept. 25, 2019
In advance of the House hearing on “The Expansion and Troubling Use of ICE Detention,” CVT submitted this statement for the record, describing the devastating impacts of detention on families.

Complaint: LGBTQ+ Detention
Sept. 25, 2019
Ahead of House hearings on ICE detention, CVT and partners submitted this complaint on behalf of LGBTQ+ migrants & people living with HIV. Details and commentary from the complaint were featured in the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Seattle Times and SF Gate.

Art & Panel Event: The Experiences of Women Who Flee Central America
Sept. 20, 2019
Artists and experts came together to explore, describe and represent the situation of women who have fled Central America, hosted by CVT and the Inter-American Commission of Women of the Organization of American States (OAS/CIM. Click here for agenda and event details, and read the press release hereThe event was covered by Voice of America – watch interviews here, featuring comments by Andrea Cárcamo. Listen to the art piece by Ernesto Cárcamo Cavazos.

CVT Statement: Supreme Court
Sept. 12, 2019
CVT issued this statement objecting to the U.S. Supreme Court upholding a ban on asylum seeking to the United States for those who traveled through a third country.

Letter to Congress: DHS Appropriations
Sept. 12, 2019
CVT joined more than 200 NGOs in calling on Congress to cut the detention, enforcement and border militarization portion of the Department of Homeland Security budget, and put in accountability measures.

Letter with National Consortium: Presidential Determination
Sept. 9, 2019
CVT and torture rehabilitation organizations call on the U.S. to admit at least 95,000 refugees next year.

CVT Article: A visit to Stewart Detention Center
Sept. 5, 2019
On her visit to the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia, Andrea Cárcamo wrote about finding hope despite exceeding low asylum grant rates.

CVT Article: Georgians speak up for refugees
Aug. 26, 2019
Darlene Lynch, head of external relations, CVT Georgia, writes about a successful Day of Action event.

CVT Statement: Indefinite Detention of Children
August, 21, 2019
CVT pushed back in this statement as the Trump administration moved to eliminate protections that were intended to protect children’s mental and physical wellbeing.

Letter to Members of Trump Administration: Presidential Determination
August 19, 2019
CVT joined over  170 organizations in this letter calling for a Presidential Determination to admit 95K refugees in FY 2020.

Public Comments - Department of Homeland Security (USDHS): Interim Final Rule (IFR) Unlawful and to Adversely Affect Torture Survivors
Aug. 15, 2019
CVT opposes proposed changes to asylum eligibility criteria and procedural modifications.

Letter to U.S. Department of State and Homeland Security: "Assisted voluntary return" program concerning
Aug. 2, 2019
CVT is one of 30 organizations expressing grave concerns about the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) “assisted voluntary return” program for migrants subject to the Remain in Mexico policy. 

CVT Statement: Graham Bill
July 31, 2019
CVT issued this statement calling Senator Graham’s “Secure and Protect Act” bill a travesty for torture survivors.

Letter to Judiciary Committee
July 31, 2019
CVT signed this letter opposing Senator Lindsey Graham’s “Secure and Protect Act.”

News Media: Common Dreams
July 30, 2019
This article includes a quote from Scott Roehm, director of the Washington office, from CVT’s recent statement. The story and quote were also picked up here, by Raw Story.

Letter to Republic of Guatemala:  Reject Safe Third Country
July 25, 2019
CVT signed this letter  urging Guatemala to reject a safe third country agreement. Read the letter in Spanish here.

News Media: Washington Post
July 23, 2019
Vice President Walter F. Mondale, CVT National Advisory Committee member, published this op ed titled “Walter Mondale: We are once again in a humanitarian refugee crisis. We must stem this misery.”

Letter to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights
July 23, 2019
CVT signed onto this letter requesting a site visit at the U.S. southern border regarding human rights violations.

Press Release: U.S. expanding “expedited removal”
July 23, 2019
CVT issued this release with tips for those who will be affected by the increased fast-track deportation process in the U.S.

News Media: NBC News
July 23, 2019
CVT joined U.S. foreign policy experts, human and civil rights groups, faith leaders, scholars and lawmakers in a letter to Secretary Pompeo opposing the State Department’s Unalienable Rights Commission. NBC News covered the news in an article, “Human rights groups lead chorus of alarm over new Trump administration commission.”

News Media: Common Dreams
July 19, 2019
Scott Roehm, director of the Washington office, was quoted regarding reports of the Trump administration considering zeroing out the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, saying “"This is not about safety, or security, or economics; it’s xenophobia-fueled politics. Closing our doors to some of the world’s most vulnerable people, many of them torture survivors, is as un-American as it is appalling.” This story was also picked up in Raw Story.

CVT Statement: Zero Refugee Admissions
July 18, 2019
CVT issued this statement in response to reports that the Trump administration is considering zeroing out the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program in fiscal year 2020.

Letter to State Dept & Homeland Security: Assisted Voluntary Return
July 18, 2019
CVT signed this letter expressing profound concern about the assisted voluntary return program.

CVT Statement: New Barrier to Asylum
July 15, 2019
CVT released this statement denouncing the Trump administration’s new attempt to ban individuals from seeking asylum at the U.S. southern border.

Statement for the Record: Family Separations
July 12, 2019
CVT and the Mount Sinai Human Rights Program submitted this statement, “The Trump Administration’s Child Separation Policy: Substantiated Allegations of Mistreatment,” ahead of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s hearing on family separations.

News Media: MinnPost
July 11, 2019
Andrea Cárcamo-Cavazos, senior policy counsel, wrote this article titled, "Asylum Seekers at our Southern Border Face Egregious Human Rights Violations Daily."

CVT Article: LGBTQ+ Immigrants in U.S. Custody
June 28, 2018
Andrea Cárcamo-Cavazos writes about the outcomes of policies that permit jailing individuals who seek protection, including LGBTQ+ immigrants and asylum seekers. 

Letter in Spanish on Safe Third Country Agreements
June 20, 2019
CVT joined fellow organizations in signing a letter denouncing proposed “safe third country agreements” with Mexico and Guatemala.

Blueprint Offering Solutions to the Humanitarian Crisis at the Border
June 17, 2019
CVT is among the refugee and human rights organizations that partnered with Human Rights First on a “blueprint offering concrete steps to manage the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. southern border and to address the damage the Trump Administration’s mismanagement of it has caused.” A news release announcing the release of the blueprint includes CVT among the partnering or endorsing organizations.

Letter to Attorney General: Opposing New Asylum Restrictions
June 5, 2019
CVT signed this letter to Attorney General William Barr and Acting Secretary U.S. Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan, urging the administration to refrain from adopting new regulations which would erode protections for asylum seekers.

Letter to Mexican Government: Reject the Safe Third Country Agreement
June 5, 2019
CVT signed this letter urging Mexico to reject the Trump administration’s proposed third-party country agreement that would create a new barrier for asylum seekers.

CVT Article: CVT at the Southern Border
May 30, 2019
From May 13-17, Andrea Cárcamo-Cavazos was in El Paso meeting with asylum seekers in detention facilities. In this report she writes, “If you aren’t willing to listen to individual stories, you won’t get the truth.” 

CVT Article: Opposing use of CBP officers in the role of asylum officers
May 9, 2019
Andrea Cárcamo-Cavazos wrote this article titled, “CBP Cannot Act as Both Captor and Confidant.”

Letter to Congress: Opposing rollbacks to the TVPRA and the 1997 Flores settlement
May 6, 2019
CVT joined more than 70 organizations in sending this letter opposing rollbacks to the TVPRA and Flores to House and Senate leaders and relevant congressional committees.

CVT Administrative Rulemaking Comment: Opposing Changes to Fee Waivers
May 6, 2019
CVT submitted a comment opposing a proposed rule by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security. The proposed change would limit the ability of refugees and asylees to apply for residency and citizenship because it would limit their ability to qualify for a fee waiver. This fee can be the difference between their ability to become residents or to feed their families. 

Press Release: Reject Supplemental Funding That will Harm Asylum Seekers
May 2, 2019
CVT issued this press release in response to the White House’s request for an additional $4.5 billion for detention and immigration-related expenses.

CVT Statement: Barr’s New Asylum Restrictions
May 1, 2019
CVT issued this statement in response to Attorney General Barr’s action to impose fees and additional new restrictions on asylum seekers.

CVT Statement: Indefinite Detention at Border
Apr. 17, 2019
In response to Attorney General Barr’s decision permitting indefinite detention, Andrea Cárcamo-Cavazos, senior policy counsel, issued this statement, writing, “At CVT, we know all too well that detention has devastating effects on survivors of torture.”

Letter to Congress: End the Muslim Ban
Apr. 8, 2019
CVT joined a diverse coalition of close to 400 civil rights, faith, national security & community organizations in this letter in support of the #NoBanAct, a historic civil rights bill that would end the Muslim Ban and prevent faith-based discrimination in immigration.

CVT Article: Closure of USCIS Offices
Apr. 8, 2019
Curt Goering, CVT executive director, wrote this article titled, “Trump’s Latest Attack on Refugees: Closure of Overseas Immigration Offices.”

Framework of Investments
Apr. 5, 2019
CVT signed on to this framework of Five Investments in Our Immigration System to Address the “Crisis” at the Border.

Letters to Congress
Apr. 1, 2019
CVT participated as a member of Refugee Council USA (RCUSA) in writing these letters to the House and to the Senate, recommending funding levels to support refugee protection and welcome in the FY20 budget.

Letter to Congress: USCIS Offices
Mar. 28, 2019
CVT joined 30+ organizations in this letter to Congress, urging them to prohibit closure of the USCIS Int’l Operations Division, which provides critical services to U.S. citizens, refugees & asylees, as well as key roles in the legal immigration system.

CVT Statement: Override the Veto
Mar. 15, 2019
Andrea Cárcamo-Cavazos wrote this statement calling on Congress to override President Trump’s veto of a resolution that would block his national emergency, saying, “Time and again, the facts have been made evident: There isn’t a national security emergency at the border.”

News Media: The Hill
Mar. 13, 2019
Linda Chavez, director of the Becoming American Initiative, and Scott Roehm, CVT director of the Washington office, wrote this op ed, saying, “Congress needs to terminate the ‘emergency,’ summon the courage to override a veto if necessary, and then turn sustained focus to the real border crisis.”

Letter to Secretaries Nielsen and Pompeo
Mar. 13, 2019
CVT is proud to join more than 200 organizations in this letter requesting that Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Venezuelan nationals due to extraordinary conditions, humanitarian and political crisis. TPS would protect 70,000 Venezuelan nationals and their families.

Statement for the Record: Border Security
Mar. 4, 2019
CVT submitted this statement for the record as the House Homeland Security Committee prepares to hold an oversight hearing on the Trump Administrations’ border policies. CVT expresses concern for people who are seeking safe haven being profoundly impacted by cruel practices, including being forced to remain in Mexico and subject to family separation.

CVT Statement for the RecordFamily Separation
Feb. 26, 2019
CVT submitted this statement for the record in advance of the House Judiciary Committee's oversight hearing on the Trump Administration’s family separation policy, which created an actual crisis at the U.S. southern border.

Press ReleaseTrump's Declaration Creates an Emergency
Feb. 14, 2019
CVT Says Trump's Declaration Doesn't Respond to an Emergency; It Creates One. “This is a transparent abuse of power driven by politics, not facts, and it sets a dangerous precedent,” said Curt Goering. “There is no national security emergency at our Southern border. There is, however, an ongoing humanitarian tragedy fueled by the president’s policy choices.”

CVT Article: Two Years After the Muslim Ban: Is Discrimination Our New Normal?
Jan. 25, 2019
Curt Goering writes, “This is not a climate that we can allow ourselves to accept or acclimate to; it can’t become the new normal.”

CVT Article: Congress Should Reject the “End the Shutdown and Secure the Border Act”
Jan. 24, 2019
Andrea Cárcamo-Cavazos writes “Reopening the government at the expense of current U.S. legal obligations, longstanding American values, and the well-being of some of the world’s most vulnerable people is no solution at all.”

Press Release: CVT Files Objection to Asylum Ban
Jan. 9, 2019
CVT submitted formal comments on recent Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and White House actions which, taken together, constitute an asylum ban for many vulnerable people arriving at our southern border seeking protection.

CVT Administrative Rulemaking Comments: Asylum Ban
Jan. 8, 2019
CVT submitted comments stating that the Asylum Ban is unlawful and imposes needless, substantial harm on a population replete with trauma survivors.

CVT Administrative Rulemaking Comments: Protecting the Flores Settlement Agreement
Nov. 6, 2018
CVT submitted comments objecting to a new rule that would authorize indefinite detention of traumatized asylum-seeking children and their parents.

CVT Report: Tortured & Detained: Survivor Stories of U.S. Immigration Detention
November 2013
This report describes the immigration detention experience for torture survivors seeking asylum protection in the United States. Download the full report.

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