Conyers and Lofgren Call For U.S. To Take Strong Role In Addressing Global Refugee Crisis

September 10, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI) and House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security Ranking Member Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) released the following statement calling for the United States to admit 200,000 global refugees in the coming fiscal year, with 100,000 reserved for Syrian refugees:

"Today's global refugee crisis warrants an historic response.  According to official reports, there are now more refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced persons – nearly 60 million – than at any time since World War II. 

"We recently saw a photo of a three year old Syrian refugee, Aylan Kurdi, drowned and washed up on a beach in Turkey.  We also saw one of an emotional Syrian father hugging his children closely after they reached land having survived a harrowing journey by sea.  These poignant images have had a galvanizing effect on many countries in Europe and around the world.  Germany, a country just one fourth of the population of the United States, will receive approximately 800,000 asylum seekers in this year alone – more than 10 times the size of the current U.S. refugee program.

"It is time for the United States to join the global community for a humanitarian response.  We should do our part by admitting 200,000 refugees, with 100,000 reserved for refugees from Syria.  The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is an important tool for the protection of refugees around the world, including Syrians, Iraqis, and displaced persons around the world.  It reflects our nation's commitment to protecting and assisting the world's most vulnerable people, and advances U.S. foreign policy and national security interests by highlighting our commitment to human dignity and increasing our dialogue and cooperation with host nations around the world.  Additionally, as Pope Francis has indicated, now is the time for Churches and Parishes across the country to step forward to help refugees in need.

"To date, more than four million Syrian refugees have been forced to flee Syria, and the conflict in Syria shows no signs of abating.  While the heartrending journeys these refugees undertake are not new – refugees have always endured terrible challenges to reach safety – what has changed is the sheer magnitude of today's crisis.  If the United States aims to continue as a global humanitarian leader, then it is our obligation to significantly increase the number of refugees we resettle."

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