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 real-life experiences of asylum seekers and refugees before Congress and before the public.

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

ACTION NEEDED: Tell Congress to reject the president’s request for funding that would put border patrol agents into the role of asylum officers, even doing credible fear interviews.

CVT AT THE BORDER - May 2019
Updates from El Paso

Andrea Cárcamo-Cavazos, senior policy counsel, spent a week meeting with asylum seekers in El Paso detention facilities. Check out her daily video logs here:
DAY ONE: Monday, May 13, 2019
DAY TWO: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

DAY THREE: Wednesday, May 15, 2019

EIGHT FACTS ABOUT REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS

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.

THE RIGHT TO ASYLUM – IT'S SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND

 

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, Letters & Publications

CVT Article: Opposing use of CBP officers in the role of asylum officers
May 9, 2019
Andrea Cárcamo-Cavazos, senior policy counsel, 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.”

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.

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.”

Foreign Affairs
CVT supports the REUNITE Act, reintroduced by U.S. Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)., “a bill to establish a permanent system of coordination between agencies and non-governmental organizations to expedite the reunification of separated immigrant families and promote humane alternatives for asylum-seeking immigrant families.”

How You Can Help

Help CVT continue our work in support of policies that support refugees and asylum seekers.
Donate – CVT relies on contributions from supporters to sustain our work.
Join – sign up and stand with CVT to support refugees and asylum seekers.
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