On Thursday, the bicameral Refugee Protection Act (RPA) was introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA). At a time when America’s commitment to being a safe-haven for refugees and asylum-seekers is in serious doubt, this legislation provides a map to how we reestablish and improve the refugee program, resettle refugees in American communities effectively, promote family reunification and strengthen and reconstruct the process by which we hear, evaluate and adjudicate asylum claims. A summary of the bill is here, the bill text is here, and a list of the numerous refugee and asylum advocacy groups who have endorsed the bill is here. The following is a statement from Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication for America’s Voice:
The Trump administration, under the direction of Stephen Miller, has been trying desperately for years to end all refugee admissions and deny people the chance to make asylum claims in a court because the mantra of this President and the Republican party is ‘keep them out.’ Thank goodness we have leaders like Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California and Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and their numerous allies and almost 50 House and Senate co-sponsors to begin to right the ship that Trump and Miller have run aground.
The Refugee Protection Act of 2019 is about returning the United States to our position of world leadership and moral integrity when it comes to protecting ‘Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore,’ as Emma Lazarus so famously wrote.
America has a history-proven, unique ability to welcome refugees, asylum-seekers and immigrants to our land and effectively integrate them into the fabric of our great country. We know how to do this and all we need is the leadership and the will to stand up to the dark angels who peddle nativism, walls, and exclusion. The Refugee Protection Act charts a course forward and shines a light as clear as Lady Liberty’s torch for how we begin recovering from the Trump and Miller approach and how we get ourselves back to an American approach to being a beacon of hope to the world.