Revisiting the US Refugee Protection System 35 Years after Passage of the Refugee Act of 1980

Revisiting the US Refugee Protection System 35 Years after Passage of the Refugee Act of 1980

The Refugee Act of 1980 sought to conform US law and policy with the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Since the Act’s implementation, the United States has resettled nearly three million refugees, provided political asylum to roughly 450,000 persons, offered temporary protection to millions more, including the hundreds of thousands at present with Temporary Protected Status, and created a strong (albeit under-resourced), multi-agency infrastructure to meet its goals.

On the 35th Anniversary of the Refugee Act of 1980, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) released a special collection of papers, which acknowledge the immense accomplishments of the US refugee protection system, but also detail the harm inflicted on this system by restrictive legislation, expansion of the US immigration enforcement and homeland security infrastructure and non-compliance with the law by immigration officials.

In this blog for the Huffington Post, CMS Executive Director Donald Kerwin highlights the key challenges featured in the special refugee collection. He argues that an improved US refugee protection system not only safeguards the dignity and rights of imperiled persons, but also has immense consequences for the international response to refugees, victims of torture and others at risk of extreme harm.

To read “Recommitting to the US Refugee Protection System on the 25th Anniversary of the Refugee Act of 1980” posted by Donald Kerwin on June 26, 2015, visit the Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/donald-kerwin/recommitting-to-the-us-re_b_7663864.html.

And to download the free special refugee collection published in the Journal on Migration and Human Security, visit http://bit.ly/JMHSrefugeecollection.