Protect Asylum Seekers: Contact Sen. Patrick Leahy Today


Everyone who enters the United States seeking asylum is automatically put into jail. Hard to believe, right? But it’s true.

All asylum seekers — even people who have committed no crime and are simply fleeing violence — are currently put into detention facilities upon arrival in the United States, until they are granted a “credible fear” interview with a government official. Some are jailed for weeks or months until this interview, which determines if they can legally request asylum. Even after the interview, they may still be kept imprisoned while waiting for a resolution of their request for asylum! The jailing of asylum seekers violates human rights and our deepest values. Learn more.

Take action now to defend asylum seekers. Right now, we have a unique and rare opportunity to change the system. The new comprehensive immigration reform bill includes significant and much-needed protections for refugees, asylum seekers, and torture survivors. The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy, is currently considering the immigration bill. Send a message to Senator Leahy using the form below or call him at 202-224-7703.

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Message to Sen. Patrick Leahy

Dear [Decision Maker],

Thank you for your years as a human rights leader. As your committee takes up S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, I urge you to protect the provisions in the bill that provide humane alternatives to detention for asylum-seekers. Protections for vulnerable populations -- such as refugees who are survivors of torture and human trafficking -- must not be sacrificed.

As it is currently written, S. 744 would do the following:

- Discourage the detention of torture survivors
- Ensure that detainees are interviewed within five days of detention, allowing them to explain their story and request asylum
- Increase oversight of detention facilities to curb abuses
- Require the establishment of community alternatives to detention programs

Please do not let the provisions above be weakened or removed. Know that you have my support and that of many others to stand firm in protecting refugees, asylum seekers, and torture survivors.

Thank you for your leadership.

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]