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  • Statement Regarding the Death of Former Women's Refugee Commission Staff Member Jennifer Schlecht

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    “We are devastated and horrified by this unimaginable news. Jenn was family to the Women’s Refugee Commission both during her seven years with us and after her time here.

    “She brought joy and light to all who knew her and was an unyielding champion for the rights of displaced women everywhere. Most of all, she was a phenomenal mother who loved her daughter with all she had. Our hearts are broken today and our prayers are with Jenn and her family,” Sarah Costa, executive director of the Women’s Refugee Commission.

    White House Guts U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following weeks of speculation, the White House yesterday gutted the U.S. Refugee Admission Program (USRAP), a program created in the wake of World War II to facilitate refugee resettlement in the U.S. The program – which had historically seen strong bipartisan support – has seen a dramatic decline under the Trump administration in the number of refugees that could be admitted into the U.S. each year, going from 110,000 in FY 2017 to 30,000 in FY 2019. Yesterday’s action reduces the number of admissions for FY 2020 to 18,000, a historic low.

    Women's Refugee Commission Responds to White House Agreement with Honduras

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Trump administration late yesterday reached an agreement with Honduras that would require migrants and asylum seekers on their way to the Unites States – and passing through Honduras – to stay in that country and seek asylum. This is the third such agreement the Trump administration has made with a Central American country to prevent those fleeing violence from reaching the U.S. Earlier this year, Trump signed similar agreements with El Salvador and Guatemala.

    On Eve of UNGA SDG Summit, New Findings Show Marked Advances in Promoting Gender Equality in Cox's Bazar

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    NEW YORK, NY – As world leaders gather for the 74th U.N. General Assembly – including a special summit on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) today released new findings showing marked advances in promoting gender equality in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps. SDG 5 promises to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” The findings were compiled in the report Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in the Rohingya Humanitarian Response in Cox’s Bazar.

    U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Trump Administration Asylum Ban

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court decided late Wednesday to allow the Trump administration to ban asylum claims at the U.S. border with Mexico for those individuals who cannot show that they have applied for asylum in the countries they pass through on the way to the United States. The Court’s decision stays a lower court injunction, allowing the government to implement the new rule until the case is decided as a legal fight continues.

    Urgent Action Needed to Reform Gender Discriminatory Nationality Laws Causing Childhood Statelessness

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    UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, UNICEF, and the Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights, which is housed at the Women's Refugee Commission, are calling for urgent action to reform gender discriminatory nationality laws that remain a root cause of global childhood statelessness.

    A new report released this week by the three organizations highlights that 25 countries still retain laws that deny women the right to pass their nationality to their children on an equal basis with men, while three countries also have laws that deny men the right to pass their nationality to children born outside of legal marriage.

    Women's Refugee Commission Expresses Serious Concerns in Anticipation Over Finalized Flores Regulations

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    Washington, D.C. – Earlier today, the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan, announced at a press conference that the finalized regulations to the Flores Settlement Agreement (FSA) will be officially published on Friday, August 23rd.

    The FSA was established in 1997 as a result of litigation concerning the mistreatment of children in government immigration custody. The settlement lays out basic safeguards for these children, recognizes that detention is harmful to children, and makes clear that children should be placed in community settings. The settlement stated that the government should seek to release children without delay to a vetted sponsor, and if that is not possible, to hold children in the least restrictive setting possible. Prior to the FSA, children were held in punitive, jail-like settings, alongside unknown adults, for lengthy periods of time. The FSA sought to ensure the appropriate treatment of children and provide a minimum baseline for such treatment.

    Women's Refugee Commission Responds to UNSC Meeting about Rohingya Repatriation

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    The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is meeting today to discuss plans to repatriate Rohingya refugees, following an announcement made by the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar last week. In August 2017, Myanmar security forces launched widespread and systematic attacks on civilians in Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan States, resulting in the largest and fastest-ever influx of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

    WRC files complaint with DHS OIG and CRCL regarding ‘Remain in Mexico’

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) filed a complaint on Friday with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Offices of Inspector General (OIG) and of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) calling for an investigation into 20 cases of family separation that resulted from the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico (RIM) policy.

    The complaint – which includes details of all 20 cases in question – also called for the OIG and CRCL to report on steps taken by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and DHS – if any – to track those families separated under RIM.

    Women's Refugee Commission Condemns Raids on Immigrant Workers

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the Trump administration executed one of the largest single-state workplace enforcement actions in U.S. history when it raided multiple workplaces in Mississippi, detaining more than 680 immigrant workers. The raid follows a series of anti-immigrant regulatory and policy actions by the Trump administration to limit access to asylum at the U.S. border with Mexico and massively expand expedited removal, allowing the government to detain and rapidly deport a larger population of undocumented immigrants without a court hearing.