Target: Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer
Goal: Do not redefine what it means to be a refugee.
Refugees could soon be restricted from entering the US, thanks to a bill recently approved by the House Judiciary Committee that would effectively dismantle the US refugee program. The bill would also allow states the right to refuse resettlement of refugees and cap the number of refugees admitted in the US at 60,000, well below Obama’s target of 100,000. Furthermore, it would redefine what it means to be a refugee, making it harder for people to qualify as refugees, and would allow the US Government to use religion as a basis for admittance or non-admittance of refugees. Given that the world is facing the largest refugee crisis since the Second World War, this bill may effectively be a death sentence for thousands of people, and a guarantee of continued suffering for thousands more.
The bill would require individuals to be specifically targeted in order to qualify as a refugee. Most refugees, especially those fleeing Syria, cannot claim this as the cause of their migration. Additionally, the bill would institute a legal preference for refugees from minority religious groups. Since most Syrian refugees are from the Syrian Sunni majority, this would just be another way of making it harder for refugees to seek asylum. Finally, the bill would allow states and communities to decide whether they want to accept refugees allowing states to discriminate based upon origin and religion and undermining efforts to share the cost of resettlement. Sign our petition if you believe that the US should abide by international law, and be a nation that gives safe haven to those facing violence in their home countries.
Dear Leaders of the US House of Representatives,
Bill H.R. 4731, which has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee, will redefine what it means to be a refugee and house discrimination in US law. The consequences of this bill will be greater suffering and death among refugees of the world as it is another barrier in the already arduous process of being admitted to the US as a refugee.
The world is facing the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War– millions are displaced, many have been for years. These people are of diverse backgrounds, religions and origins but they share one thing: the fact that the homes they loved are too dangerous to return to. Children have been out of school for years, without medical attention and without sanitation, in crowded refugee camps. Without a legal path, refugees have been forced along dangerous routes that have cost the lives of thousands, and line the pockets of traffickers. Ask yourselves whether the world will be safer if you do nothing or whether inaction will sow the seeds of future conflict.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Sharnoff’s Global iews