REPS LIEU, LOFGREN, NEGUSE, OMAR AND GARCIA INTRODUCE RESOLUTION HONORING WORLD REFUGEE DAY

June 23, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-Los Angeles County), Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO), Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), introduced a resolution reaffirming U.S. commitment to the protection of refugees and displaced persons in honor of World Refugee Day last weekend. Rep. Lieu introduced a similar bill in the 114th, 115th and 116th Congresses.

“Now more than ever it’s important for the United States to step up and help refugees fleeing their homes because they fear being persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality or political beliefs,” said Congressman Lieu. “Rebuilding America’s refugee program is moral and smart. These efforts strengthen global security, advance United States foreign policy goals, and support regional host countries, all while helping families and individuals in need. I’m pleased to once again lead an effort to demonstrate Congress’s resolve to support refugee populations.”

“Leaders on both sides of the political aisle have long recognized that a robust refugee program advances U.S. national security interests and is morally just,” said Representative Zoe Lofgren, Chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship. “As multiple global crises continue to unfold, our country should reaffirm its commitment to protecting people fleeing persecution and to those who served alongside our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. America must lead with compassion and humanity.”

“As the son of African immigrants, the shelter and freedom provided to refugees from around the world in the U.S. is not abstract to me, but offered my family an opportunity to live out the American Dream,” said Congressman Joe Neguse, Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Refugee Caucus. “For World Refugee Day, I’m proud to lead on this bipartisan resolution with my colleagues to reaffirm the United States commitment to promote the safety, health, education and well-being of refugees around the world. The United States has long been a beacon of hope to refugees and it’s critical we retain our moral authority and global leadership on refugee resettlement.”

“As a former refugee myself, I know how critical the refugee program is to our country. But today that American dream is under threat,” said Congresswoman Omar. Under President Donald Trump, the United States drastically cut the number of refugees it resettled. Instead of extending humanity and compassion, they treated migrants and refugees like criminals. That’s why it is so important that we as a nation and as a movement proudly stand up for the rights of all asylum seeks and refugees. I know that, with effort, we can still achieve that America I dreamed about as a young refugee. And  I will keep fighting until America once again fulfills its obligation to accept refugees and puts these hateful policies into the dustbin of history where they belong.”

"Millions of people are forced to leave their homes every day and seek protection in the United States and other countries around the world. On World Refugee Day, we honor them by remembering their immeasurable contributions to our nation and reaffirming our commitment to upholding our legal and moral obligations to protect them," said Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia (TX-29). "I am proud to support this resolution and stand with refugees always."

Additional support:

“On World Refugee Day, we honor refugees’ resilience and demonstrate the broad bipartisan support for refugees across the country. Church World Service commends Congress for planning to introduce a resolution that commemorates World Refugee Day and celebrates the contributions of refugees to our nation. Everyone deserves a safe place to call home. This resolution signals our nation’s values of compassion, hospitality, and welcome. We urge the administration to uphold these values, resettle as many refugees this year as possible, set the FY 2022 admissions goal at 125,000, and rebuild the program after years of attacks. Following introduction, we call for the resolution’s swift passage as a testament to our legacy as a nation of welcome,” said Meredith Owen, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Church World Service.

“We embrace the Congressional World Refugee Day Resolution and celebrate our nation’s long history of welcoming refugee families and helping them rebuild their lives in safety. Refugees are vital parts of our American communities. They are teachers, healthcare professionals, essential workers, and community leaders. We honor them today and every day, and we look forward to working with Congress to rebuild the life-saving refugee resettlement program,” said Voice for Refuge Action Fund’s Mary Elizabeth Margolis.

“As an organization built and led by refugees and asylum-seekers, Refugee Congress knows firsthand the importance of the life-saving refugee resettlement program, and we enthusiastically welcome the Congressional resolution honoring World Refugee Day. This is a special time to celebrate the contributions of refugees to our communities and commit to reestablishing welcome and support for refugees, asylum-seekers, and other vulnerable migrants.”

“As a former refugee and someone who has helped to resettle families in the U.S., I welcome the Congressional World Refugee Day Resolution. This special day honors and celebrates refugees and reminds us to reflect on the importance of the refugee resettlement program. We must rebuild our role as a nation with a commitment to providing safe haven to refugees fleeing conflict, persecution, and violence.” -Lourena Gboeah, Chairperson of the Refugee Congress Board of Directors

“On World Refugee Day, HIAS recognizes the struggles and strength of the millions of men, women, and children who are refugees across the globe. After more than a year of living through the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects — the lockdowns, the border closures, the increased dangers, and the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment — we hope 2021 is the year refugees and other displaced persons will receive the support they need to rebuild their lives in peace and dignity, and we commend the joint Congressional World Refugee Day Resolution. This World Refugee Day, we honor refugees, applaud their resilience, and call on all countries to welcome the stranger.”

“World Refugee Day is an opportunity to take stock of the significant challenges facing refugees and other forcibly displayed persons around the world,” said William Canny, executive director of Migration and Refugee Services at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “It is also an occasion to recommit ourselves to welcoming an annual number of refugees that is more consistent with our national values. As one of nine refugee resettlement agencies in the United States, we are dedicated to working with the federal government and local partners to rebuild the Refugee Admissions Program, not only for the wellbeing of those we serve but to advance the common good for us all.”

“The Coalition on Human Needs believes strongly in the moral and human rights obligation for the United States to welcome significantly more refugees and displaced persons from around the world. We applaud the House and Senate for their strong resolution on World Refugee Day to bring awareness to the suffering of so many in our global community. Refugees' needs are urgent; our nation needs to respond swiftly.”

“Today, only three percent of refugees world-wide are able to access higher education. With the largest number of higher education institutions globally, the U.S. higher education community has great potential to increase refugee access to postsecondary education and, at the same time, provide safety and protection to the displaced students it welcomes. Yet, only small numbers of refugee students make their way to the U.S. to study, enriching U.S. college and university campuses with their resilience, skills, and diverse perspectives and backgrounds. The Biden administration and U.S. higher education now have the opportunity to make a tremendous difference in the lives of many refugee students and families. Piloting new initiatives, including U.S. university sponsorship of refugee students, could be a crucial step toward providing safety and expanding access to higher education for refugee students.” -Miriam Feldblum, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration

“Franciscan Action Network (FAN) welcomes the joint Congressional World Refugee Day Resolution for 2021. It is particularly important this year that WRD be honored after four years of very low refugee resettlement numbers, and now a restart of increasing numbers. As Franciscan Christians, we continue to welcome men, women, and children seeking refuge in this country, we advocate for their safety, and we celebrate the many contributions that resettled refugees contribute to the common good of this country they now call home.”

“The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns warmly welcomes this resolution to restore and strengthen the U.S. refugee resettlement system in honor of World Refugee Day. Our missioners working with refugees abroad see the undignified conditions in which refugees wait for resettlement and the desperation with which they long for safe, permanent solutions. We pray this effort bears fruit in offering real solutions for refugees and allowing our communities in the United States to take up our moral duty to welcome the stranger in our midst.”

“Jesuit Refugee Service/USA stands with Congressional champions on World Refugee Day to celebrate the talent, strength, and resilience of our refugee brothers and sisters. We welcome Congressional efforts to mark this special day and call on the U.S. to enact policies that address the root causes of migration, help host countries provide an opportunity for refugees to lead a life of dignity, and welcome those seeking refuge within our own borders.”

“The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is grateful to Congressional champions for reminding us of our nations’ long history of welcoming refugees. The United States has the resources, the ability and a moral obligation to welcome and resettle our brothers and sisters fleeing violence and persecution. Our failure to do all that we can would leave vulnerable refugees, including women and children, in extreme danger. Women Religious have been blessed to be able to accompany and serve refugee communities across this country for a very long time. Catholic sisters remain committed to welcoming refugees.”

“On World Refugee Day, the Sisters of Mercy reaffirm their commitment to stand in solidarity with immigrants seeking fullness of life. In addition to reuniting families, providing a path to citizenship and honoring our commitments under both national and international law to respect the right of asylum seekers, we urge the Biden administration to undertake an in-depth assessment of our foreign policy, a policy that helped create and continues to bolster the very conditions that are driving people from their home countries. We need to take the lead from grass root groups who understand their situation and are in the best position to know what they need.” -Margaret Conley, Director, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team.

“Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA) strongly believes in a policy that respects the humanity and dignity of refugees who seek protection from hostile governments, human rights violations, and inequality based on their protected status.World Refugee Day recognizes this reality. In an increasingly complicated and rapidly changing world, IRUSA believes that the United States must remain the beacon of freedom that the international community has long viewed it to be. The recent increase in the number of refugees accepted is a positive step forward. We must ensure the trajectory in welcoming refugees continues in a positive direction, not only in the United States, but across the globe.”

“Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries lauds the Congressional World Refugee Day Resolution, and reaffirms our deep commitment to uphold the repeated calling of scriptures to “welcome the sojourner among us” and to treat each with the dignity stamped upon every human being, who has been created by and imbued with gifts from God.  On World Refugee Day and throughout the year, we are eager to welcome refugees and continue the restoration and strengthening of our US Refugee Resettlement Program, which we recognize as one of the strongest public-private and bi-partisan partnerships our nation has ever known.  We celebrate the Biden administration’s beginning steps to again grow our resettlement admissions to 62,500 this year--and look forward to enthusiastically encouraging Congress and the Administration in the welcoming of 125,000 refugees for fiscal year 2022. Refugees and asylum seekers inspire us, strengthen our congregations, communities, and economy, and show us what resiliency looks like in human form.”

“On this World Refugee Day, the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) celebrates the strength and resilience of our clients--refugee and asylum-seeking torture survivors from across the globe. Many endured a long, dangerous, and traumatic journey to the United States. They speak of their exhaustion upon finally coming for rehabilitative care. And yet they persevere -- often sustained by hope -- along the difficult road to healing and prosperity. In the words of one client: ‘The torturers’ words do not limit me anymore.’ CVT thanks Members of Congress for recognizing the importance of World Refugee Day; affirming the humanity of the women, men, and children this day honors; and asserting the United States commitment to protecting them and promoting their safety, health, and well-being.”

“On World Refugee Day, we recognize the humanity of the millions of people who have been forcibly displaced and their right to seek safety. The global community must share responsibility for ensuring the protection and rights of refugees. The Congressional resolution honoring World Refugee Day acknowledges U.S. responsibilities and the importance of the U.S.'s leadership role in welcoming refugees. We all have a stake in making the world a safer place, and we call on the U.S. to welcome as many refugees as possible as it rebuilds the U.S. refugee program and commits to welcoming 125,000 refugees for the next fiscal year. The United States has a critical opportunity to invest in our shared future and to welcome people caught between home and safety through supporting a private sponsorship model, humanitarian programs, family reunification, and expanded community involvement in resettlement. " -Denise Bell, Researcher for Refugee & Migrants, Amnesty International USA

“It is so important, and indeed so healing, that Members from both sides of the aisle join together to commemorate World Refugee Day and demonstrate that refugees matter - that we see them, hear them and welcome them. Refugees around the world have been living a nightmarish roller coaster for several years - traumatized by Covid, fearful in their current situations. They have survived abuse and lawlessness; torture and corruption. Their hopes have been raised and dashed and raised again. Let us follow through with our welcome and offer of safe harbor,” said Lawrence E. Couch, director of the National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

“Church World Service is proud that Congress is introducing this resolution to honor World Refugee Day. It is not just this day, but every day that we celebrate the contributions of refugees to our nation. We embrace their inclusion in our communities and take pride in all that we do to help them rebuild their lives in safety. Refugees are an integral part of our story; they start businesses, they volunteer, they join our military, and they pray and raise their children alongside us. This resolution, if passed, would not only be a proud endorsement of the resettlement program, but a commitment to rebuild it after years of neglect. We celebrate its introduction and call for its swift passage as a testament to our legacy as a nation of welcome,” said Rick Santos, President and CEO of Church World Service.

“The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) applauds the Congressional World Refugee Day resolution, celebrates the resilience of refugees, and recognizes the non-partisan support the American people have for the United States to be a global leader in refugee protection.”

This resolution is endorsed by:

African American Ministers In Action, Amnesty International, USA Bellevue Program for Survivors of Torture, Bread for the World, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Center for Victims of Torture, Church World Service, Coalition on Human Needs, Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS), Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces, Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc., Faith in Public Life Action, First Focus Campaign for Children, Freedom Network USA, HIAS Hispanic Federation, Human Rights First, International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), Islamic Relief USA, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Leadership Conference of Women Religious, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, National Council of Jewish Women, National Immigration Forum, National Network for Immigrant & Refugee Rights, National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), New American Economy, New Sanctuary Coalition, Oxfam America, Presidents' Alliance, Project Blueprint, Refugee Congress, Refugees International, Syrian Community Network, Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition, United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries, United Stateless, Voice for Refuge Action Fund, We Are All America, Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigration, Win Without War, Witness at the Border, Women's Refugee Commission, World Education Services,  World Relief, WRD South Dakota Committee