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This article was originally published on December 23, 2022.

The Tahirih Justice Center welcomes the introduction of the Refugee Protection Act (RPA). This bill not only ensures our doors remain open to refugees and asylum seekers but also reasserts long-held legal precedent.  

Refugees fleeing violence and persecution, including gender-based violence, come to this country seeking safety. We must be a nation that recognizes their legal right to seek asylum and welcome them with support, empathy, and dignity – the RPA does just that. 

This bill would address several long-standing asks and if passed would go a long way to addressing systemic failures that make seeking asylum and rebuilding in the U.S. harder for survivors. The bill aims to reduce asylum backlogs and protect due process for asylum seekers. It would also improve work permit processing and eligibility for those seeking asylum and ensure work authorizations are expedited without delay – ensuring that asylum seekers can build financially stable and independent lives sooner.  

“Work authorization is essential to ensuring immigrant survivors can rebuild their lives and take care of themselves and their families. The right to work is the gateway to financial stability and independence and is an essential pillar of survivor healing and justice.” said Casey Carter Swegman, Director of Public Policy at the Tahirih Justice Center. “The Refugee Protection Act is a critical piece of legislation and would go a long way toward providing the welcome that immigrant survivors of gender-based violence are legally entitled to and have long deserved.” 

We are deeply grateful to Senator Leahey and Representative Lofgren for championing the Refugee Protection Act and we look forward to robust, bipartisan support and swift passage of the Refugee Protection Act.

For further comments, please contact Karla Flores at [email protected]. 

The Tahirih Justice Center is a national, nonprofit organization that serves immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. By amplifying the experiences of survivors in communities, courts, and Congress, Tahirih’s mission is to create a world in which all people share equal rights and live in safety and with dignity.