(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) today joined Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) in sending a letter to House leadership calling for measures to ensure the protection of refugees, asylees, and other immigrants in emergency legislation responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Members requested that funding for refugee admissions be included in future coronavirus emergency legislation, that refugee admissions are resumed expeditiously, and that the Administration extend validity periods for visas and security checks to account for coronavirus-related delays.
“Refugees, special immigrants, and immigrant visa applicants are important members of American communities,” the Members wrote. “Refugees are the most vetted travelers to the United States and face rigorous security checks that take years to complete. Further, immigrants often wait for years and go to great lengths and expense to obtain visas to enter the United States. Afghan SIVs in particular have been persecuted for their faithful and valuable service to the U.S. government. Now is the time to ensure that we do not turn our backs on those we promised to welcome. Finally, given the suspension of refugee admissions, I am requesting that they be resumed as soon as it is safe to do so.”
The letter was signed by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, Rep. Jesús G. “Chuy” García, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Rep. Tony Cárdenas, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Rep. Gwen Moore, Rep. Mark Pocan, Rep. James P. McGovern, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez, Rep. Jahana Hayes, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, Rep. David N. Cicilline, Rep. Darren Soto, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, Rep. Adriano Espaillat, Rep. Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.
A PDF of the letter can be found here and the full text of the letter is below.