U.S. Senate renews push for immigration reform | Global Refuge

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Press Release

U.S. Senate renews push for immigration reform

Global Refuge Staff

May 23, 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 2023, 2024

Contact: Timothy Young | timothy.young@globalrefuge.org

Baltimore, MD – The U.S. Senate is poised to vote on immigration legislation this Thursday in an effort to revive reforms previously negotiated by Democratic and Republican senators. The bill would implement sweeping restrictions on asylum protections and provide funding for border operations, receiving communities, and the hiring of additional asylum officers, border agents, and immigration judges.

Specifically, the legislation would create a new authority that, with narrow exceptions, would allow officials to summarily expel asylum seekers without screening interviews when border encounters reach a certain threshold.

The bill would not provide legal status to any of the estimated 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. without documentation, nor provide a pathway to citizenship to Dreamers. However, it would allocate 50,000 new family- and employment-based immigrant visas per year for five years, offer lawful permanent residency to tens of thousands of Afghans evacuated to the U.S. following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, and provide status to the children of highly skilled H-1B visa holders.

In response to the renewed legislative push in the Senate, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Global Refuge, said:

“While there is clear consensus that our immigration system demands reform, this legislative framework leans too heavily on enforcement and deterrence alone and does not provide legal pathways that have long been a hallmark of large-scale immigration legislation. Automatic triggers shutting down asylum access would be diametrically opposed to our humanitarian commitments to the most vulnerable. Our nation’s decision to grant access to lifesaving protections should be based on the merits of a claim and need for safety, not on numbers alone.”

“Bipartisanship requires political compromise, but it does not require compromising our core values as a refuge for the persecuted and oppressed. To alleviate strain on border infrastructure, lawmakers should focus on building processing capacity at ports of entry and robust legal pathways from abroad. Despite decades of advocacy, the bill is also unacceptably devoid of any pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and other undocumented community members who have been essential contributors to our nation for years.”

“As our nation struggles with the lowest birthrates on record and crippling labor shortages, we need to leverage smart immigration policy to meet our economic needs without abandoning our legal and moral obligations. It’s time for elected officials to recognize that our country’s competitive advantage lies in the enduring desire of people to build a future here.”

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About us:

Global Refuge, formerly Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, is a nonprofit serving newcomers seeking safety, support, and a share in the American dream. For 85 years, we have welcomed those seeking refuge, upholding a legacy of compassion and grace for people in crisis. We walk alongside individuals, families, and children as they begin their new lives in the United States through our work in refugee resettlement, welcome and respite services for asylum seekers, economic empowerment and employment, and family unification for unaccompanied children. To date, we have served over 750,000 people from around the globe. At Global Refuge, welcoming newcomers isn’t just our duty—it’s an inherent part of our identity, rooted in our Lutheran heritage and inspired values, and serving as a testament to our unwavering commitment to those in search of refuge.

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