I am writing to urge you to oppose the REAL ID Act. The REAL ID Act will make it much harder for legitimate refugees who flee from political, religious and other persecution to obtain asylum and will place them at greater risk of being deported back into the hands of their persecutors.
The REAL ID Act would, for example, prevent a U.S. federal court from stepping in to stop an asylum seeker from being deported back into the hands of her persecutors while her asylum claim is still pending before a U.S. court. If the asylum seeker is jailed or tortured after her return, it will do her little good to learn that the U.S. court recognized that she had been entitled to asylum all along. The bill will also:
* Allow a refugee who testifies credibly to still be denied asylum if she is unable to track down documents to confirm or "corroborate" her testimony -- even if this effort might endanger her family;
* Require a refugee to prove her persecutor's "central" reasons for harming her -- essentially penalizing a refugee who cannot prove with unrealistic precision what is going on in her persecutor's mind;
* Give an immigration officer or immigration judge broad leeway to deny a refugee asylum based on her "demeanor" -- ignoring the fact that survivors of rape, forced abortions, or similar abuses may appear lacking in emotion or have difficulty making eye contact; and
* Allow people who bear no personal responsibility for terrorist acts -- even the wives and children of victims of extortion by terrorist or militant groups -- to be deported and barred from asylum based on overly broad definitions of "terrorism" and of what constitutes "supporting" terrorism.
Existing law already bars from asylum anyone who engages in terrorist activity and anyone who is or may reasonably be considered a danger to the security of the United States. The provisions listed above will have serious life and death consequences for genuine refugees without making our nation safer.
Please oppose the Real ID Act and preserve our nation's commitment to protecting refugees who have fled horrific persecution.
Thank you for your consideration.