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Women’s Refugee Commission Supports Reintroduction of the Refugee Protection Act

Washington, D.C. – In a bicameral effort today, U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) reintroduced the Refugee Protection Act, legislation that would provide a comprehensive blueprint for protecting individuals and families fleeing persecution and violence.

Reintroduction of the legislation comes as refugee numbers globally hit record highs. More than 100 million people are forcibly displaced and some 274 million need assistance and protection. The legislation would restore the U.S. refugee program and require the president to set an annual refugee admission goal of at least 125,000 – the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 and FY 2023 refugee admissions goals – to help prevent future cuts to the program.

The legislation also includes measures to protect refugee children and improve asylees’ and refugees’ access to education, health care, and jobs once they have arrived in the U.S.

Following the introduction of the Refugee Protection Act, Gayatri Patel, vice president of advocacy and external relations at the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), issued the following statement:

“The Women’s Refugee Commission supports the reintroduction of the Refugee Protection Act. The ability to access refuge in the United States is a lifeline for so many struggling to escape dangerous situations. The Refugee Protection Act’s mandate to resettle at least 125,000 refugees each year sets the floor for refugee admissions and provisions to improve refugee processing, resettlement, and family reunification improves their access to this safety.

“For those who are resettled in the U.S., it improves their ability to acclimate through English-language and financial literacy courses, cultural orientation, and programs to help them obtain housing and education. It also prohibits pushbacks of people in need of protection, and enhances legal protections for victims of trafficking and severe forms of domestic abuse.

“This legislation also mandates family unity for individuals seeking asylum together, strengthens protections for unaccompanied children arriving at our borders alone, and ensures a humane reception for all children and families into the United States.

The U.S. government generously welcomed more than 200,000 people fleeing conflict in Ukraine, showing that robust protections and widespread availability of services are possible for all people seeking safety from violence, persecution, and disaster. Now is the time to extend that compassion to all refugees and asylum-seekers in the spirit of the United States’ historic role as a safe haven and in line with its obligations under international law.

“I call on Congress and the Biden administration to enact this bill into law and ensure the United States meets its global commitment to protecting those seeking safety.”