Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Urgent Action TODAY: Tell House Leadership Not to Bring Anti-Refugee Bill to a Vote!

Background: This month, the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 4731, the "Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act" out of committee. As House Leadership decides whether to bring this bill to the House floor for a vote, it is critical that they hear from everyone who supports refugee resettlement. We must stop them from even considering bringing H.R.4731 to a vote by the full House.

H.R.4731 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. 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.

Call House leadership TODAY: Urge them to STOP this anti-refugee bill

       Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI-1): (202) 225-0600 / @SpeakerRyan
       Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-23): 202-225-4000 / @GOPLeader
       Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA-1): (202) 225-0197 / @SteveScalise
       Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5): (202) 225-5107 / @housegop
       Policy Committee Chair Luke Messer (R-IN-6): (202) 225-3021 / @RepLukeMesser

Here’s what you can say: “I support refugee resettlement, and I urge the Representative to STOP H.R.4731, the "Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act" from coming up for a vote. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee, but would decimate refugee resettlement by drastically reducing refugee admissions, changing the definition of who is a refugee, allowing states and localities to stop resettlement to their areas, placing refugees under continual surveillance, and discriminating against people based on their religion, among other provisions.  This bill runs counter to the humanitarian leadership of the United States and the welcome of the American people. Please oppose H.R.4731 and don’t bring this bill up for a vote."

Below is additional 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 are refugees.
·       Refugee resettlement is a last resort, only considered for the most vulnerable who cannot return home or 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 doors open to refugees fleeing persecution.
·       Refugees do not choose which country they are resettled to. The U.N. refugee agency refers 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, Department of State, and National Counter Terrorism Center, including biometric checks, forensic document testing, medical screenings and in-person interviews by highly trained DHS 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.

You can also call 1-866-940-2439.  The recording you will here when you call this number is:  Thank you for calling Leadership Members of the House of Representatives as they decide whether to bring H.R.4731, the "Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act" to the House floor for a vote. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee, but would drastically reduce refugee admissions, change the definition of who is a refugee, allow states and localities to stop resettlement to their areas, place refugees under continual surveillance, and discriminate against people based on their religion, among other provisions. Please call this line five times to be connected with all members of House Leadership. When you are connected, tell the receptionist that you and your community welcome refugees and urge them to STOP H.R.4731 from coming up for a vote. Please spread the word and urge others to call as well.