Editor’s Note: See our new post, “Update on Legislation Protecting Refugees” for the very latest information.
While there’s been much buzz about comprehensive immigration reform and what will become of the family-based system, improving refugee protection remains a pressing need. I’m pleased to announce that Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) re-introduced the Refugee Protection Act of 2013 last week. This legislation recognizes the importance of maintaining the United States as a nation of welcome for individuals who seek safe haven on our shores.
Refugees arrive in the United States having undergone violent, discriminatory, and traumatic experiences in their home countries. After arrival, they immediately begin the process of learning how to navigate and rebuild their lives in a new place. The Refugee Protection Act would ensure the United States improves the welcome and support we show refugees and others fleeing persecution.
During times of war, armed conflict or other traumatic events, regrettably some children witness the death of their parents or are permanently separated from their families. The Refugee Protection Act of 2013 would help refugees separated from their families through improvements to the resettlement process. These changes would ensure that vulnerable children would continue to receive the loving care they need. Among many other updates to existing laws, the Refugee Protection Act would also improve the resettlement process, ensure asylum seekers are considered for release from detention, and repeal the one-year filing deadline that currently prevents many qualified asylum seekers from finding protection in the United States.
LIRS welcomes this legislation and will be encouraging Members of Congress to include protections for refugees in comprehensive immigration reform. Join us today and ask your elected officials to protect refugees, asylum seekers, vulnerable children, and other migrants who arrive on U.S. shores in search of protection.