On February 13, 2013, Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota’s 5th District introduced H.R. 651, titled the Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act. Designed “with the goal of streamlining processing, consistent with maintaining security,” the following are among the bill’s directives:
— A review by the Director of Homeland Security of America’s procedures for allowing refugees through its borders
— The creation and implementation of programs to train emigrants, before they depart, in the English language as well as in a potential vocation
— A recommendation that the President implement the position of White House Coordinator on Refugee Protection
— An order the Office of Refugee Resettlement to provide funding and various services for at least 12 months to refugees
— The creation of a a Domestic Emergency Refugee Resettlement Fund
— The expansion of Supplemental Security Income to some qualified aliens
The current process by which the US allows in refugees is often arduous and cumbersome. A May 2011 report by the Migration Policy Institute found that the United States prevents “unknown numbers of would-be asylum seekers each year from reaching” its borders. Representative Ellison, together with cosponsors James Moran of Virginia and Janice Schakowsky of Illinois, is seeking to alleviate this congestion by introducing H.R. 651.
On February 19, the bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Human Resources. A part of the Ways and Means Committee, its chairman is Republican Dave Camp of Michigan’s 4th district. If you are interested in contacting Mr. Camp to voice your opinion on H.R. 651, the Strengthening Refugee Resettlement Act, you can reach his Washington, D.C. office by dialing 202-225-3561.
– Jake Simon
Sources: Thomas, Migration Policy