Urgent Action Needed! House Considering Bill to Severely Restrict Refugee Resettlement
Background: This Wednesday, March 16th, the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee plans to mark up H.R. 4731 "The Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act". This bill would drastically reduce and cap refugee admissions; place refugees under continual surveillance after they have arrived; and create new procedures that would significantly and potentially indefinitely delay resettlement for many refugees whose lives are in danger, including but not limited to Central Americans, Syrians and Iraqis. It would allow state and local governments who "disapprove" of refugees to veto resettlement in their localities. Under the guise of prioritizing religious minorities from countries of particular concern, H.R. 4731 could effectively prevent many Muslim refugees from being resettled in the United States. It would keep refugees from adjusting to Lawful Permanent Residency until they have been here for three years, which would delay family reunification and integration opportunities. The bill would also revoke the refugee status of any refugee who returns to their country of origin to visit loved ones or rebuild their communities.
It is critical that all members of the House Judiciary Committee hear from everyone who supports refugee resettlement NOW as they make decisions about this legislation that would drastically impact the lives of refugees around the world and effectively decimate refugee resettlement in the United States.
Call House Judiciary Committee Members TODAY: 1-866-940-2439 You likely will not be connected with your own Representative's office, since calling committee members is the best way to raise our voices at this moment. Please call multiple times to connect with all committee members. A list of committee members' phone numbers are below if you prefer to call directly.
When you call, tell the receptionist that you want to help WELCOME refugees and that you urge them to REJECT H.R. 4731, "The Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act"
Example: "I support refugee resettlement and I urge the Representative to REJECT H.R. 4731, "The Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act" that is set to be considered by the House Judiciary Committee. H.R. 4731 would decimate refugee resettlement in the United States by drastically reducing refugee admissions, allowing state and local governments who "disapprove" of refugees to veto resettlement in their localities, and denying life-saving protection to refugees fleeing for their lives. This bill runs counter to the humanitarian leadership of the United States and the welcome of the American people. Please oppose H.R. 4731."
You can also tweet your Members of Congress and your network: ".@REPRESENTATIVE, Our community welcomes #refugees. OPPOSE H.R. 4731, the so-called "Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act " #RefugeesWelcome #AmericaWelcomes!"
Follow @RCUSA_DC on Twitter and "like" Refugee Council USA on Facebook for up-to-date alerts.
Below is information about refugee resettlement that might be helpful:
Refugees have fled their country of origin because of a well-founded fear of persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and/or political opinion.
Today, we are facing a global refugee crisis, with more than 60 million people displaced from their homes, more than at any time since World War II. Some 20 million of the displaced are refugees.
Refugee resettlement is a last resort, only considered for the most vulnerable refugees who cannot return home and cannot safely integrate in a nearby country. Less than 1% of refugees are resettled.
The U.S. is a global leader in refugee protection and resettlement, which is critical to encouraging other countries to keep their door open to refugees fleeing conflict and persecution.
Refugees do not choose which country they are resettled to, but rather the U.N. refugee agency recommends highly vulnerable refugees to resettlement countries. The U.S. government screens and approves all refugees who resettle here.
Refugees are the most thoroughly vetted people to come to the United States, undergoing rigorous security screenings by the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, Department of Defense and multiple intelligence agencies, including biometric checks, forensic testing, medical screenings and in-person interviews by highly trained Department of Homeland Security officers.
Refugees resettled in the U.S. successfully support their families, pay taxes, and contribute to their new communities. They work in industries ranging from hospitality, food service, teaching, engineering, nursing and medicine, and many start their own businesses. Albert Einstein, Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, and Sergey Brin, the founder of Google, are former refugees whose accomplishments demonstrate what the U.S. has to gain from welcoming refugees.
Here are the Direct Lines of Judiciary Committee Members:
Also please call House Leadership to urge them to stop this anti-refugee bill from advancing in the House: • Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI-1): (202) 225-0600 / @SpeakerRyan • Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23): 202-225-4000 / @GOPLeader
The recording when you call 1-866-940-2439 is: Thank you for calling the House Judiciary Committee as they plan to discuss "The Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act" this Wednesday. This bill would decimate refugee resettlement in the United States by drastically reducing refugee admissions, allowing state and local governments to stop refugee resettlement in their localities, and denying life-saving protection to refugees fleeing for their lives. You will soon be connected with a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Please call this line multiple times to be connected with other committee members. When you are connected, tell the receptionist that you and your community welcome refugees and urge them to reject "The Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act."
Please spread the word and urge others to call as well. Go to www.rcusa.org for helpful resources.
Thank you for your strong and continued support of refugees in PA. We will continue to keep you updated as things progress.
CWS Lancaster Office Director
CWS Lancaster Immigration and Refugee Program 308 East King Street Lancaster, PA 17602