New Bill Erodes Protection of Refugees and Asylum-Seekers: You Can Help
On December 16, the US House of Representatives approved an immigration bill that, if enacted into law, will seriously erode the protection of refugees and asylum-seekers in the United States.
The bill — known as HR4437, the Sensenbrenner-King bill — is now on its way to the Senate. If it becomes law, undocumented aliens would be treated like criminals, jailed, and then sent back to their home countries without allowing sufficient time and attention to determine if they have the right to asylum. In addition, anyone who assists undocumented aliens could face arrest and prosecution.
In an opinion piece published today in the Wall Street Journal, International Rescue Committee overseer and Intel Corporation founder Andrew S. Grove expresses concern that the bill would foster mistrust and suspicion and discourage Americans from helping anyone who appears to be “foreign.”
In the piece, Grove recalls that as a Jewish child hiding from the Nazis in Hungary, he saw how “the persecution of non-Jewish Hungarians who hid their Jewish friends or neighbors cast a wide blanket of fear over everyone.” He says, “This fear led to mistrust, and mistrust led to hostility, until neighbors turned upon neighbors in order to protect themselves.”
The US Senate will consider immigration reform legislation in this session of Congress. You can help by e-mailing your Senators and urging them to reject any provisions that would undermine US obligations toward refugees, asylum-seekers, and the individuals or organizations that seek to help them.