Human Rights Initiative Statement on DOJ Rule Rejecting Asylum Seekers Who Have Traveled Through a Third Country

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     
May 30, 2019                                                                                                        Contact: Kali Cohn, Advocacy Director HRI, 214-273-4338.   

DALLAS – On May 30, 2019, news broke that the U.S. Department of Justice is considering an interim final rule that would bar anyone who travels through a third country from seeking asylum in the United States.

“Asylum was created by the international community in the wake of the Holocaust—an agreement that we would never again send people fleeing persecution back to their persecutors,” said Bill Holston, Executive Director of the Human Rights Imitative of North Texas. “Every day, Human Rights Initiative serves clients who have fled horrifying abuse in their home countries for speaking up against government corruption, for practicing their faith, for living their authentic LGBTQ lives. And almost every single one of those clients must brave a journey through different countries to get here to the United States, to safety. The administration’s proposal would bar them from seeking protection in the United States. We reject this callousness. The United States must be a nation of refuge.”

“The children that we serve have faced circumstances that no child should have to face, and have made journeys that no child should have to travel, said Anna Rupani, Children’s Program Attorney at the Human Rights Initiative of North Texas. “They come to the United States because, for so many, the danger they are fleeing can reach them in a country next door. To turn those kids away because their journey to safety was too long is unusually cruel.”


Founded by social worker Serena Simmons Connelly and lawyer Elizabeth Healy, the Dallas-based Human Rights Initiative of North Texas has grown into an award-winning agency helping immigrant survivors of human rights abuses from all over the world. Our courageous and resilient clients are eligible to apply for legal status under the humanitarian provisions of United States immigration laws and policies: they are asylum seekers fleeing persecution; children who have been abandoned, abused, or neglected; and victims of family violence and violent crimes. HRI’s Legal team partners with a network of over 250 pro bono attorneys from top DFW firms and corporations to help clients access the U.S. Immigration System, and our Social Services team offers transitional support and referrals to help address trauma and ease the hardships of profound displacement. At HRI, all of our services are free, and all are designed to help forge a path to safety, stability, and opportunity. For more information, visit



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