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S. 1202 (112th): Refugee Protection Act of 2011

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 15, 2011.

Refugee Protection Act of 2011 - Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to: (1) eliminate the one-year time limit for filing an asylum claim; and (2) permit, and set forth the requirements for, reopening a claim that was denied because of failure to file within one year.

Revises the definition of terrorist activity for purposes of alien inadmissibility. Excludes activity committed under duress from such definition.

Revises: (1) the definition of refugee, and (2) the criteria for granting asylum.

Authorizes the Attorney General to appoint counsel to represent an alien in a removal proceeding.

Prohibits an alien from being removed during the 30-day petition for review period unless the alien indicates in writing that he or she wishes to be removed before the expiration of such period.

Makes discretionary certain currently required detention provisions regarding arriving aliens who request asylum.

Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to: (1) establish a secure alternatives to detention program, (2) establish specified conditions of detention, (3) file notice of immigration charges with the court and the individual within 48 hours of detention, and (4) establish procedures to ensure the accuracy of statements taken by DHS employees exercising expedited removal authority.

Authorizes the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom to conduct a study to determine whether certain immigration officers are properly handling asylum and removal/detention authority with regard to aliens apprehended after entering the United States.

Authorizes waiver of the continuous one-year presence requirement for permanent resident status adjustment for a qualifying refugee/asylee who: (1) is or was employed by the U.S. government or a U.S. government contractor for not more than one year overseas and worked on behalf of the U.S. government for such time, and (2) returns immediately to the United States upon such employment's conclusion.

Exempts aliens under the age of 18 from certain restrictions on applying for asylum.

Sets forth protections for: (1) refugees; (2) aliens interdicted at sea; and (2) stateless persons in the United States, including mechanisms for regularizing status.

Authorizes the President to designate refugee groups.

Permits applicants for refugee admission to simultaneously pursue other forms of admission.

Authorizes the spouse or child of a refugee or asylee to bring his or her accompanying or following child into the United States as a refugee or asylee.

States that if the President does not issue a refugee allocation determination before the beginning of a fiscal year the number of refugees that may be admitted in each quarter shall be 25% of the number of refugees admissible during the previous fiscal year.

Directs the Secretary of State to notify Congress regarding the amount of funds that will be provided in Reception and Placement Grants in the coming fiscal year.

Amends the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006, with respect to naturalization of an Afghan or Iraqi translator who is a lawful permanent resident, to count a period of absence from the United States working as a translator for the United States or a U.S. contractor in Afghanistan or Iraq towards the accumulation of the required U.S. physical presence.

Directs the Comptroller General to conduct a study of the Office of Refugee Resettlement's domestic refugee resettlement programs.

Revises the refugee grant and contract assistance allocation formula.

Directs the Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services for Refugee and Asylee Resettlement (HHS) to: (1) report to Congress regarding states experiencing departures and arrivals due to secondary migration; and (2) expand the Office's data analysis, collection, and sharing activities to include data on mental and physical medical cases, housing needs, and refugee employment.

Amends the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 to extend the eligibility of certain aliens (including asylees and refugees) and victims of trafficking in persons for supplemental security income (SSI) assistance.