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Conyers and Lofgren Issue Statement Regarding Syrian Refugee Crisis

Sep 23, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) and House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), issued the following joint statement in response to a small announced increase– from 75,000 to 85,000 – in the refugee admissions levels for the next fiscal year:

“The Administration is right to take action to increase resettlement of the world’s most vulnerable refugees.  We hope to work with the Administration to do more.  There are currently 12.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Syria, 7.6 million internally displaced persons, and 4 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries.  They are fleeing a war waged by the brutal Syrian regime on one hand and the barbarism of ISIS on the other.  For these refugees, safe haven in Europe, the United States, or other welcoming countries is their best and only hope. 

“In the 1980s, the United States resettled one million Vietnamese, at times taking in more than 10,000 per month.  During the 1990s, we accepted hundreds of thousands of religious and political refugees from the former Soviet Union.  Yet today, with more refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced persons than at any time since World War II, the need for an historic response has never been greater.  Our commitment to resettle only 10,000 Syrian refugees falls short when weighed against our nation’s proud history protecting those fleeing violence and persecution.

“The Administration cannot be alone in this effort.  Congress must also act to support resettlement, and we should also encourage private funding to support resettlement efforts.  Additionally, as Pope Francis has urged, now is the time for Churches, Parishes, and houses of worship across the country to volunteer and bring their resources to bear in helping global refugees.

“Just over 75 years ago, a ship called the St. Louis, carrying nearly a thousand Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, sailed so close to the United States that passengers could see the city lights of Miami.  But rather than welcome these refugees, the United States turned them away.  Many later died in concentration camps.  We should not repeat the mistake of rejecting those fleeing for their lives.  The United States has long been a symbol of freedom and hope for the World’s most vulnerable.  In today’s global refugee crisis, we must now act boldly to fulfill that promise.”

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Earlier this month, Conyers and Lofgren, as well as 70 members of Congress, called on the United States to admit 200,000 global refugees, with 100,000 reserved for Syrian refugees.

114th Congress