Representative Jim Moran

Representing the 8th District of Virginia
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Stark, Moran Introduce Bill to End 1-Year Limit for Asylum Application

Sep 21, 2011
Press Release

Arbitrary Limit Hurts Applicants Fleeing Violence and Persecution


WASHINGTON – Today, Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) reintroduced the Restoring Protection for Victims of Persecution Act, which terminates the arbitrary rule baring anyone from receiving asylum if they've been in the United States longer than one year. This one-year limit impacts a range of individuals, including victims of religious and political persecution, and is particularly dangerous for targets of abuse and gender-based persecution. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Ranking Member on the Committee the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration Policy and Enforcement, is an original cosponsor.

"Due to bureaucracy, the United States is sending victims of torture, religious and political discrimination, and gender-related persecution right back to their tormenters," said Rep. Stark. "This must end. Our legislation would do away with the arbitrary one-year limit on asylum applications and make good on the promise that America is a safe harbor for those who are persecuted."

"Refugees fleeing persecution encounter many roadblocks to gaining protection in the United States. An arbitrary, one-year filing deadline adds to a confusing process and does nothing to prevent fraud or abuse. If the United States is to serve as an example of freedom and democracy, it is only right that legitimate asylum seekers are afforded the protections granted to them under U.S. law," said Rep. Moran.

“The one-year filing deadline for applying for asylum has for years prevented legitimate asylum seekers fleeing persecution from receiving protection in the U.S., and has done little to accomplish its stated goal of preventing asylum fraud.  This bill simply removes this impediment and helps ensure that the U.S. continues to stand as a beacon of freedom and hope to refugees around the world," said Rep. Lofgren.

The Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 established the rule barring individuals from applying for asylum if they arrived in the United States more than a year before filing their application. Between its 1998 enactment and 2010, more than 53,400 applicants have had their requests for asylum denied, rejected or delayed. Independent analysis suggests some 21,000 refugees would have been granted asylum without the need for further litigation if not for the filing deadline. The limited exceptions to the one-year bar are narrow and are applied inconsistently. The Restoring Protection for Victims of Persecution Act would end the one-year limitation effective immediately.


The following advocacy groups support the legislation:

  • Church World Service, Immigration and Refugee Program
  • Global Lawyers and Physicians
  • Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
  • Human Rights First
  • Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
  • The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
  • Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
  • National Immigration Forum
  • National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
  • NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby
  • Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
  • South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
  • Women's Refugee Commission
  • Physicians for Human Rights
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • Jubilee Campaign
  • National Immigration Forum
  • Immigration Equality

A fact sheet on the Restoring Protection for Victims of Persecution Act can be found here:


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