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Chairman Menendez and Rep. Lieu Introduce Resolution Recognizing World Refugee Day

WASHINGTON – Today, on World Refugee Day (June 20), U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA-36) were joined by 19 of their Senate colleagues, 50 of their House colleagues, and 17 prominent refugee advocacy and human rights organizations in reintroducing a resolution reaffirming the importance of the United States’ role in promoting the safety, health, and welfare of refugees and displaced persons worldwide as they flee war, persecution, exploitation, and torture.

“With over 108 million people displaced worldwide, the United States must continue to champion international humanitarian efforts and demonstrate global leadership in addressing the forced migration crisis, which has led to over 35 million men, women and children becoming refugees. Thanks to our commitment to deliver humanitarian assistance, millions of refugees have access to food, shelter, and other lifesaving assistance,” Chairman Menendez said. “Our resolution recognizes the bravery and heroism of refugees and displaced people as they face brutal conditions, from conflicts in Syria, Burma, Sudan and Ukraine to natural disasters across Mozambique and the Horn of Africa. As democratic backsliding and authoritarianism rise globally, the United States and our partners must double down on our efforts to protect and affirm the human rights of displaced people around the world.”

“America has long been a beacon of hope for people around the world fleeing violence, famine and oppression,” said Rep. Lieu. “At a time when the number of refugees and displaced persons is on the rise globally, the United States must stand strong in its commitment to provide safety and security to those in need. I’m proud to lead this resolution with Chairman Menendez honoring the millions of courageous and resilient people who’ve fled their homes in search of a life free from violence and persecution. Whether they’re from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, Venezuela, South Sudan or elsewhere, refugees and their families deserve a safe place to call home. Today and every day we reaffirm our commitment to support the countless families across the world who’ve risked so much, guided by the hope for freedom.”

“World Refugee Day has always been about celebrating the resilience and humanity of those forced from their homes. Yet World Refugee Day is also a clarion call for action. Forced displacement globally is at an unprecedented level. It is time for all Americans to unite in the spirit of welcome to our new neighbors, those who still aspire to find safety in our country, and those seeking protection at our borders. Senator Menendez and Representative Lieu believe in that spirit and know that the current resettlement program does not have the support it needs. This resolution honors both of their long histories of welcome and lays out a clear pathway to safety for generations to come,” said Erol Kekic, Senior Vice President of Programs at Church World Service.

“At a time of unprecedented global displacement, the U.S. must lead the world in offering refuge to those who have fled persecution. Protecting and welcoming refugees should never be a partisan issue, but rather a proud part of our identity for all Americans. We must never elevate politics over the biblical imperative to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, lest we perpetuate a grave injustice against a vulnerable population to whom we should be extending compassion,” said Myal Greene, President & CEO of World Relief.

“The rates of forced displacement around the world have reached devastating levels, and World Refugee Day asks us not only to hold space for the hardships refugees face, but to honor their resiliency and hope by reaffirming our dedication to refugee resettlement. Welcome and the pursuit of freedom and safety are undeniable cornerstones of our American values. This World Refugee Day resolution calls upon those values, and celebrates the powerful contributions refugees make to our communities. We thank Sen. Menendez and Rep. Lieu for their ongoing leadership on advancing the rights and dignity of refugees,” said John Slocum, Executive Director for Refugee Council USA.

“We are grateful for this resolution in calling attention to the need for the U.S. government to affirm the dignity, safety, and well-being of refugees and asylum seekers,” said Giulia McPherson, Director of Advocacy at Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. “As global forced displacement continues to rise, Congress must reaffirm its role in guaranteeing that the U.S. has the appropriate policies and resources in place to provide a wide-reaching response that is dignified and adheres to our nation’s commitments to refugees and asylum seekers.”

“World Refugee Day is a time to celebrate the talents, the joy, and the resilience of refugees, and to celebrate the countless ways in which refugees enrich our communities – as friends, as neighbors, as colleagues, and as leaders,” said Nili Sarit Yossinger, Executive Director at Refugee Congress. “As we witness the largest number of displaced people in history, it is also the time to act, and to implement legislation that safeguards our protection pathways, including refugee resettlement and asylum. As an organization that is built and led by people who sought safety in the U.S., we appreciate this resolution reaffirming the urgent need to uphold U.S. leadership on refugee protection, to ensure that our pathways are equitable and inclusive, and to meaningfully engage refugees and other forcibly displaced people in crafting solutions.”

An astonishing number of refugees are torture survivors, many suffering profound physical and psychological scars from the trauma they endured. And yet, they are a tremendous source of hope. We see that hope, every day, in our programs around the world: survivors progressing along their healing journeys; reclaiming their voices; pursuing justice; and leading across the human rights movement. U.S. protection systems should be rooted in that hope—designed to maximize opportunities for safety, and affirm all refugees’ dignity and humanity. This resolution, and the commitment it demands, is an important step toward that end,” said Scott Roehm, Director of Global Policy and Advocacy, Center for Victims of Torture.

“Today's World Refugee Day Resolution is a necessary recognition of the critical roles the United States refugee and asylum systems play in providing safety to displaced people from around the world,” said Sunil Varghese, Policy Director of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP). “IRAP is grateful for the leadership of Senator Menendez, Representative Lieu, and the other members of Congress supporting this Resolution for upholding the American values of freedom and welcoming for all.”

Find the full resolution text HERE


The resolution is also cosponsored by Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Markey (D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

The House resolution is cosponsored by Representatives Frederica S. Wilson (FL-24), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-00), Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-1), Yvette Clarke (NY-09), Barbara Lee (CA-12), David Trone (MD-06), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Jasmine Crockett (TX-30), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Gerry Connolly (VA-11), Kevin Mullin (CA-15), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Robert Garcia (CA-42), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Scott Peters (CA-50), Betty McCollum (MN-04), Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Teresa Leger Fernandez (NM-03), Nikema Williams (GA-05), Summer Lee (PA-12), Jerrold Nadler (NY-12), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Steven Cohen (TN-09), Nanette Barragan (CA-44), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Al Green (TX-09), Adam Smith (WA-09), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Jennifer McClellan (VA-04), Becca Balint (VT-AL), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-34), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (FL-20), Valerie Foushee (NC-04), Jesús García (IL-04), Sara Jacobs (CA-51), André Carson (IN-07), Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Shri Thanedar (MI-13) .

The resolution is supported by the following organizations: Church World Service, HIAS, Jesuit Refugee Service USA (JRSUSA), International Rescue Committee (IRC), International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), Islamic Relief USA, National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), Oxfam America, Refugee Congress, Refugee Council USA, Refugees International, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), The Center for Victims of Torture (CVT), U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), Voice for Refuge Action Fund, We Are All America (WAAA), and World Relief.