7-13-2012By Annie Sovcik
Refugee Protection Program
A diverse coalition urges the Obama Administration to implement the Leahy-Kyl reforms
The applications of nearly 4,700 people seeking asylum, refugee resettlement, permanent residence, or family reunification are “on hold” because the U.S. government has mislabeled them “terrorists.” A diverse coalition of NGOs has once again come together to call on President Obama to “allow people to prove – and in the case of refugees and asylees already living in the United States, prove again – that they pose no threat to the security of the United States, so that refugees can find safety, families are no longer needlessly divided, and long-term, law-abiding residents of the United States can finally have their cases resolved.”
The letter explains how, through broad definitions of terrorism and terrorist activity, U.S. immigration laws have ensnared people with no real-life connection to terrorism for several years. Consequently, thousands of refugees seeking safety – including those with family already in the United States – have been barred from entering the U.S., and many refugees and asylees already offered protection and living in the U.S. have been barred from obtaining green cards and reuniting with family members.
More than four years ago, Congress – in a bi-partisan effort lead by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) – amended the law to authorize the Administration to exempt persons with no actual connection to terrorism from being barred on that basis. However, to date, the relevant government agencies have failed to establish workable procedures and have continued the abuses the legislation was intended to put to an end.
Tell Secretary Napolitano to sign exemptions for refugees mislabeled as “terrorists.”
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