From the Director: Hope and Renewal
These two words capture what we Americans intend for refugees who have fled persecution and violent conflict. In March, hope and renewal were given greater strength by the introduction of the Refugee Protection Act. To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Refugee Act of 1980, this bill was introduced on March 15th by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont to provide increased protections to refugees and asylees while correcting some of the ill effects of previous immigration legislation that made it extremely difficult for innocent individuals with valid claims of persecution to enter the U.S. as asylees.
Here are some highlights:
• Eliminates the requirement that asylum seekers file their claim within one year of arrival
• Enables asylum seekers to pursue a claim even when their persecution was not socially visible
• Allows children and family members of refugees to be considered derivative applicants, enabling families to stay together
• Adjusts the per capita spending on refugees for inflation and the cost of living, giving refugees and asylees more income when they first arrive
This bill gives refugee families a better chance of starting a new life in America. This is good news, too, for IRC Tucson staff whose tireless efforts to buoy the hopes of clients are beaten back by the dire challenges refugees still face because of the difficulty of finding jobs to support themselves and their families.
As always, your support of refugees and our efforts is greatly appreciated. I hope you will also consider letting your senators and representative know of your support for the Refugee Protection Act. Passage of this bill will help sustain hope and create the real possibility of renewal for refugees in our community. To learn more, visit: Leahy.Senate.gov.