Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 18

THE
REFUGEE
CRISIS
& THE PURSUIT OF SHARED RESPONSIBILITY
Interviews by John Murph

B

y the end of 2017, approximately
68 million people around the world
had been forced out of their homes
due to persecution, conflict, violence,
or human rights violations, according
to the United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR). Of that number, nearly
25.4 million were refugees.

"It means the world's forcibly displaced population has now overtaken that of
the United Kingdom and reached another record high," the UNHCR said in its
2017 Global Trends Report, the body's latest available data.
The world began seeing an escalating refugee crisis in 2013, primarily driven
by the ongoing seven-year war in Syria. An estimated 85 percent of the world's
refugees under the UNHCR's mandate - or some 16.9 million people -
received asylum in developing nations in 2017. In the past three years, however,
several Western countries have begun closing their doors on refugees by tightening their immigration rules or fortifying their borders.
In separate interviews, Washington Lawyer reached out to immigration experts
Allen Orr and Royce Bernstein Murray for their perspectives on the refugee
and migrant crisis; the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the
first multilateral treaty outlining refugees' rights; and whether it is time to reexamine the international community's refugee system.
Orr, founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Orr Immigration Law Firm P.C.,
is second vice president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
His practice focuses on U.S. corporate compliance as well as global corporate
representation and assistance with immigration issues.
Murray is the managing director of programs at the American Immigration
Council, overseeing the organization's legal, policy, and media work. Murray
previously served as director of policy at the Heartland Alliance's National
Immigrant Justice Center, where she worked on issues impacting the due
process rights, detention, and treatment of vulnerable immigrants.

BORDER BARRIERS
BY THE NUMBERS

End of World War II: 7
Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989: 15
After Sept. 11, 2001: 19
Today: 70+

18

WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

MAY 2019

*

In response to the unprecedented influx of refugees, some countries have
sealed off their borders. Critics say they're flouting international law, but is
this law still relevant in light of the magnitude of the current crisis?

ORR: Our asylum laws were passed by Congress. So, unless Congress changes
the laws, no matter what the influx is, the rule is that individuals can still apply
for asylum. As long as the laws remain the same, people should be treated the
same. It's not a temperamental sort of thing.
Our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, and our whole judicial system are not based
upon what other countries do; they are based upon what we should do. For
us right now, people [aren't] appearing at our southern border [in] greater
numbers; we're seeing increased media attention. There were actually more
people who came across the southern border in the 1990s. So, it's not actually
a greater influx; it's greater [media] coverage.

MURRAY: International laws serve as the foundation of the U.S. refugee
and asylum system. While what matters most is the application of U.S. law,


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Washington Lawyer - May 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - May 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar Of Events
Cybersecurity Rules & Risks For The International Lawyer
Borders, Refugees & A Global Crisis
Climate Change: Turning To Law In Race Against Time
Member Spotlight
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask The Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effect
Community & Connections
Special Coverage: Youth Law Fair @ 20
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Calendar Of Events
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cybersecurity Rules & Risks For The International Lawyer
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 14
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 16
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Borders, Refugees & A Global Crisis
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 20
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Climate Change: Turning To Law In Race Against Time
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 24
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 25
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 26
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 27
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 29
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 31
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Ask The Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 37
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 39
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 41
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 42
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 43
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 45
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Special Coverage: Youth Law Fair @ 20
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cover4
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