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March 29, 1996 - Image 130

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-03-29

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0310) 354-6620

Refugee Cap
Cheers Activists

Washington (JTA) — Jewish ac-
tivists have emerged victorious
from a two-year campaign to de-
feat a congressional proposal to
impose new limits on the number
of refugees allowed into the Unit-
ed States each year.
While immigration reform is
far from dead, the House of Rep-
resentatives ended Congress'
quest to impose a new cap on
refugee with a mere 20-minute de-
bate and a voice vote Wednesday
The move allows more than
30,000 Jews from the former So-
viet Union to continue to come to
the United States each year.
Even members who spoke in
"reluctant opposition" to deleting
the cap from an immigration over-
haul bill did not vote against the
"Refugees are not a problem in .
this country and it's fantastic that ,
Congress recognized that fact,"'
said Karen Senter, co-director for
domestic concerns of the Nation- -
al Jewish Community Relations
Advisory Council.
A Senate bill on immigration
reforms scheduled for debate next
month does not include a refugee
In another move hailed by Jew-
ish activists, the House deleted
provisions of the bill that would
have sharply reduced legal immi-
The Senate, however, is still
considering legislation that would
reduce legal immigration.
• Currently, the administration,
in consultation with Congress, sets
the limit for the number of annu-
al refugee admissions allowed into
the country.
This year, about 90,000
refugees are expected to come to
the United States, including more
than 30,000 Jews from the former
Soviet Union.
Congress had proposed lower-
ing the annual slots for refugees
to 75,000 next year and to 50,000
a year after 1997.
The Jordan Commission, a
presidential panel assigned to
rewrite U.S. immigration policy,
had recommended a limit on an-
nual refugee admissions.
The House adopted the plan in
its proposed legislation, but law-
makers balked at including the
measure after a concerted lobby-
ing campaign by immigration ac-
tivists, including many Jewish
House members appeared to
accept the argument that
refugee policy needs to remain

flexible in order to meet the
changing global conditions
refugees face.
The vote "sends a message that
we're still a caring country," said
Richard Jacobs of the Council of
Jewish Federations.

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