U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations

06/20/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/20/2024 18:58

Chair Cardin, Rep. Lieu Introduce Resolution Recognizing World Refugee Day

WASHINGTON - Today, on World Refugee Day, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Congressman Ted Lieu (D-Calif.-36) were joined by 22 Senate and 57 House colleagues to introduce a resolution affirming the United States' commitment to supporting the safety, health, and welfare of refugees and forcibly displaced persons worldwide as they flee persecution, conflict, and violence.

"We are facing a global displacement crisis," said Chair Cardin. "There are roughly 120 million people who have been forcibly displaced around the world, including more than 31 million refugees that have fled their countries. United States leadership in responding with humanitarian assistance and ensuring protections for refugees and displaced persons is a testament to our own history and a demonstration of moral leadership. On this World Refugee Day, our resolution honors the aspirations and contributions of refugees globally. The United States' long history of welcoming people who have been oppressed or persecuted has made us a stronger nation. We must continue to work with our partners to resolve conflicts, respond to natural disasters, hold human rights abusers accountable, and address situations like climate change that contribute to displacement so that refugees and other displaced people may return home and live in peace and prosperity."

"At the end of 2023, there were nearly 118 million displaced people worldwide, according to the UN Refugee Agency," said Rep. Lieu. "That's close to 118 million individuals who've been forcibly uprooted due to violence, persecution, human rights violations, or other dangers. At a time when the number of refugees is rising globally and numerous wars persist across the world, the United States must stand firm in our commitment to defend democracy and human rights. I'm honored to introduce our World Refugee Day resolution with Chairman Cardin and 57 other House Members to reaffirm our support for the brave and heroic refugees who've risked so much in pursuit of freedom and happiness for themselves and their families. Whether they're fleeing conflict in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South America, Africa or elsewhere, refugees deserve to live freely and safely."

"Since its inception, World Refugee Day has stood as a perennial moment for Americans to acknowledge not only the contributions of the displaced in our communities-as parents, as coworkers, as faith leaders, and as tax payers-but, importantly as fellow humans who want all that we want, which is to live in peace. June 20th has always been about celebrating the resilience and humanity of those forced from their homes. It is about our futures together. It is about our shared belief that people have more in common than they sometimes think," said Erol Kekic Senior Vice President of Programs at Church World Service. "Members of Congress know that refugees enrich our communities. From Houston to Seattle, Minneapolis to Biloxi, our society is elevated by these new Americans. As they commit to this American Dream, our elected officials need to acknowledge how much they add to the American saga, not take away from it."

"World Refugee Day is an opportunity for the United States to celebrate the many ways in which refugees contribute to our communities," said Eleanor Acer, Senior Director for Refugee Protection at Human Rights First. "So many Americans today are the children and grandchildren of refugees. Human Rights First greatly appreciates this Congressional resolution and the critical message it sends. As we mark World Refugee Day, it is more important than ever for the United States to lead by example in protecting refugees from return to persecution."

"World Refugee Day is a moment to reflect on the work to ensure refugees and other displaced populations receive access to durable solutions," U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) President and CEO Eskinder Negash said. "Robust refugee resettlement through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program remains in U.S. values and interests and should be supported as such. We thank our Congressional allies for continuing to support policies that will protect the rights of refugees and other displaced populations worldwide."

"On World Refugee Day, and every day, Refugee Council USA (RCUSA) recognizes the enduring strength and humanity of refugees and forcibly displaced individuals, highlighting their invaluable contributions to our communities worldwide," John Slocum, Executive Director of RCUSA. "As global displacement reaches unprecedented levels, it is crucial for the United States to uphold its commitment to refugee protection, resettlement, and asylum through resolutions such as this one. We commend our Congressional partners Senator Cardin and Representative Lieu for their steadfast advocacy in safeguarding the rights and dignity of those fleeing persecution and conflict, and encourage others to join in doing so."

The resolution is also cosponsored by Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai'i), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

The resolution is supported by the following organizations: Church World Service, International Rescue Committee, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, Hebrew International Aid Society, Human Rights First, Haitian Bridge Alliance, Talent Beyond Boundaries, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice, International Refugee Assistance Project, Muslim Advocates, Bethany Christian Services, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas - Justice Team, Refugee Council USA, Refugee Congress, Rainbow Railroad, Community Sponsorship Hub, RefugePoint, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, National Partnership for New Americans, Alight, The Advocates for Human Rights, Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource Center, Union for Reform Judaism, Center for Victims of Torture, World Relief, Freedom Network USA.

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