RCUSA Principles for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

As our nation's leaders come together to consider ways to fix our immigration system, Refugee Council USA firmly believes that refugees and asylum seekers should be included in any comprehensive immigration reform legislation. See below for RCUSA's principles:

Refugee Council USA Principles for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Comprehensive immigration reform legislation was introduced in the Senate on April 16, 2013, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), which included crucial provisions for refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless persons.

More than 200 national, state, and local humanitarian, human rights, faith-based, and refugee-serving organizations sent a letter (in html here) thanking Senators Bennet, Durbin, Flake, Graham, Menendez, McCain, Rubio, and Schumer for including improvements to immigration law protecting refugees, asylum seekers, and stateless people in S. 744. State-specific letters were also sent from an array of supporters in Arizona, California, Florida, New York, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. Law professors from across the country also sent a letter of support.

Further evidence of the broad support for these refugee and asylum provisions is this press release from a diverse group of faith leaders on May 8th, the eve of the first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee's markup of the bipartisan reform bill.

On May 20, the Senate Judiciary Committee considered amendments to the bipartisan immigration bill relating to refugees, asylees, and other vulnerable populations as part of their markup. RCUSA members opposed some proposed amendments (in html here); the outcomes for all amentments can be found on the Senate Judiciary Committee website.

After coming through the Senate Judiciary Committee, the full Senate considered amendments to the bill for three weeks. On June 27, the Senate passed (68-32) a modified version of S. 744. The provisions making crucial improvements for refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, and other vulnerable populations remained in the bill intact thanks to tireless efforts by RCUSA members, national and grassroots partners, and champions on the Hill.

As the House of Representatives also considers immigration reform, RCUSA urges that any reform legislation upholds the United States’ proud history and tradition of protecting and welcoming victims of persecution, oppression and torture. RCUSA sent a letter to Speaker Boehner raising concerns about provisions in the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement, or SAFE Act (H.R. 2278) that have unintended consequences on refugees and asylees.




Photo credit: EMM