HIAS Welcomes Reintroduction of Refugee Protection Act

SILVER SPRING, Md. — HIAS celebrates the reintroduction of the Refugee Protection Act (RPA), which would strengthen and modernize the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) and the nation’s system for processing people who seek asylum.

“We thank Senator Leahy and Congresswoman Lofgren, both staunch advocates for refugees, for their leadership in reintroducing this essential and common-sense legislation. HIAS endorsed the RPA when it was first introduced in 2019 and is doing so again now, because if passed, it would make vast improvements to the way this country welcomes refugees and asylum seekers,” said Naomi Steinberg, HIAS’ Vice President for U.S. Policy and Advocacy.

Among other measures, the RPA would require the president to set an annual refugee admissions goal of at least 125,000 people, create a White House Coordinator for USRAP, improve overseas refugee processing, and reduce backlogs in asylum processing while also streamlining work permit processing and eligibility for asylum seekers.

“In addition,” Steinberg continued, “the RPA would make permanent the Lautenberg program, which currently expires and has to be reauthorized each year. The Lautenberg program facilitates the resettlement of members of religious minority groups from the Former Soviet Union and Iran, including Christians, Baha’is, Zoroastrians, Sabaean-Mandaeans, and Jews.”

“We urge other members of the House and Senate to help restore the United States’ historic leadership role on refugee admissions and asylum by stepping up and joining Senator Leahy and Congresswoman Lofgren as co-sponsors of the Refugee Protection Act,” Steinberg said.


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