Tuesday, December 05, 2006


USCCB, for whom I loosely work, just issued this statement in regards to refugees and asylum seekers. Please read and respond...we are all just refugees, really, waiting for a country to call our own.

I write concerning a matter of utmost importance and urgency, which requires your active involvement in advocacy on behalf of refugees currently barred from the United States on account of an overly broad interpretation and application of U.S. anti-terrorism laws.

Thousands of refugees and asylum seekers are being prevented from receiving the asylum, resettlement, or permanent residence in this country they desperately need. Under U.S. anti-terrorism laws refugees, for example, have been barred from entering the U.S. because they were forced at the threat of death to provide "material support"- money, food, or other support-to an organization now broadly defined in U.S. law as a terrorist organization (including pro-democracy rebel groups.)The U.S. refugee resettlement program, a lifeline for those who flee oppression, has been undermined by the failure to resolve this crisis. Tens of thousands of refugees have been denied entry and asylum seekers here have had their cases rejected.We need you to generate grassroots letters written to President Bush about this problem. There are two particular requests that should be made of him:That he require the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and State to recognize "duress" as a waiverable circumstance when considering refugee applicants; and That he support bi-partisan legislation, hopefully forthcoming in the new Congress, which legislatively fixes these unintended consequences of current law.

You can access a model letter and send it directly via email to the president by going to www.justiceforimmigrants.org/materialsupport.html .I encourage you to reach out to parishioners and others in the community to have as many letters as possible sent to the President.Ideally, letters can be sent on December 12, 2006 to the President. In this way, we have a better chance for impact. However, if you cannot get letters in on that particular day, please send them whenever you can.Thank you for your essential help on this important initiative. We will keep you informed about developments.

This message was sent from
Migration and Refugee Services
Office of Executive Director
3211 Fourth Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20017


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