MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — On June 20, 2001, the United Nations declared “World Refugee Day” as an international holiday in order to recognize the lives of all refugees, migrants and displaced persons around the world. Now, on the 22nd World Refugee Day, U.S. congressional leaders band together to push for improved U.S. leadership in the international refugee system due to the severity of worldwide displacement. Due to several global conflicts, the world is seeing record-breaking numbers of displaced people worldwide, resulting in a global refugee crisis.
A Resolution to Address the Global Refugee Crisis
More than 108 million people currently have no place to call home. Considering this, it is imperative for all nations to participate in alleviating this issue. For this reason, the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) alongside 69 congressional leaders and several prominent human rights organizations reintroduced a resolution affirming the importance of U.S. commitment to refugee safety, health and welfare, according to the Foreign Relations Committee. “Our resolution recognizes the bravery and heroism of refugees and displaced people as they face brutal conditions,” wrote Menendez in a press release.
The resolution reaffirms the U.S.’s legal commitment to contribute to the functioning of a safe and humane international asylum system, continuing support of UNHCR and other governmental organizations and working alongside international organizations that are involved with aiding refugees. The plan also highlights the importance that refugees have to the national economy as it was estimated that refugees contributed around $269.1 billion to the national economy between 2005-2014. Not only does protecting refugees and displaced persons aid the national economy, but it also contributes to the safety of national security.
Welcoming Asylum Seekers and Refugees
In a statement that the International Rescue Committee (IRC) published in September 2022 announcing its partnership with the Biden administration to welcome asylum-seeking persons to the U.S., Senior Vice President for Resettlement, Asylum and Integration, Hans Van de Weerd, wrote, “Refugee resettlement has strengthened the fabric of US communities for generations, has helped ensure national security, and bolstered foreign policy and global stability.”
The partnership with the IRC came in the form of a signed statement titled the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions. This statement announces the new refugee admissions goal of welcoming 125,000 refugees in the 2023 fiscal year. The U.S. government also announced that it will allocate an additional $172 million toward humanitarian aid in Sudan and neighboring countries such as Chad, Egypt, South Sudan, Ethiopia and the Central African Republic. Support for Ukrainians seeking refuge will continue into the new fiscal year as well.
Upholding Human Rights Amid the Global Refugee Crisis
Despite these global acts, the resolution stresses more on the importance of creating spaces nationwide to welcome refugees. It indicates the protected right of seeking asylum for refugees, acknowledges the important role that resettlement plays in solving the displacement crisis and stresses the importance of the central tenants that prohibits the return of individuals to harmful countries as well as the welcoming of those facing oppression or persecution in their home countries.
In a press statement about the resolution, Rep. Lieu writes, “At a time when the number of refugees and displaced persons is on the rise globally, the United States must stand strong in its commitment to provide safety and security to those in need.”
– Kenzie Nguyen