09.09.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Need To Support Syrian Refugees

[Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following comment Wednesday after meeting with Secretary of State Kerry to discuss the administration’s proposal for the number of refugee admissions into the United States for the upcoming fiscal year.  Leahy, who is also the Ranking Member of the State Department’s budget committee – the State Department and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee – has long led efforts to support assistance for refugees.]

“Today’s global refugee crisis is historic in its size and scope.  It warrants a response commensurate with our nation’s role as a humanitarian leader.  For months I have urged the administration to dramatically increase the number of Syrian refugees it would accept in the face of this crisis.  We must do more.  Over the summer, I offered an amendment in the Appropriations Committee to restore $415 million in refugee aid that had been cut from the fiscal year 2016 Senate foreign aid bill.  My amendment would have supported a meaningful response to the crisis that we are witnessing now in heart-wrenching photographs, but not a single Senate Republican supported that amendment.  It is not too late to do the right thing.

“Many in Washington are looking forward to a visit later this month by Pope Francis, who just this week asked the faithful throughout Europe to shelter refugees fleeing ‘death from war and hunger.’  In the United States, we can do the same thing. We can respond, as we have before, with meaningful action that is worthy of a nation of immigrants with by far the largest capacity to act, as the world expects us to.  I urge both the administration and leaders in Congress to do just that.”

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