Connolly Reintroduces Lady Liberty Act to Lift Refugee Cap

connolly photoRep. Connolly

Today, on World Refugee Day, Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, reintroduced the Lady Liberty Act, legislation to reverse the Trump administration’s recent actions to severely limit refugee resettlement in the United States. Connolly was joined by more than 70 members of Congress.

“The Trump administration is once again slamming the door on refugees,” Connolly said. “Against a record high global refugee crisis, the Trump administration’s record-low refugee admissions cap is dangerous and un-American. The Lady Liberty Act will reverse this callous backslide and restore America’s leadership role in refugee resettlement.”

“No one chooses to be a refugee,” Connolly said. “These people are seeking safety and a better life. Congress has a moral responsibility to stand up to the President and let the world know we are still a welcoming and compassionate nation.”

110,000 refugees per year

The Lady Liberty Act would require the President to set a goal of admitting no less than 110,000 refugees annually. Last year, Secretary Pompeo announced a record low refugee cap of 30,000 refugee admissions for Fiscal Year 2019, down from 45,000 the previous year. Since 1980, the U.S. has resettled more than 3 million refugees and set an average annual goal of 95,000 refugee admissions. The previous low ceiling for refugee resettlement in the U.S. was 67,000, set by President Reagan in 1986. This week, the UN Refugee Agency announced that there were more than 70 million men, women, and children forcibly displaced at the end of 2018, again surpassing the highest numbers on record.

The legislation is endorsed by The Alliance, CASA, Church World Service (CWS), Ethiopian Community Development Council, Family Action Network Movement (FANM), HIAS, Human Rights First, International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Islamic Relief USA (IRUSA), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI), Veterans for American Ideals, and We Are All Americans.

Text of the legislation is available here.