Bipartisan Effort Seeks to Preserve Lifeline for Iranian Refugees
By PAAIA Staff
May 18, 2011, Washington, D.C. – On Friday, May 13th, Representatives Howard L. Berman (D-CA), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), and Robert J. Dold (R-IL) led a bi-partisan letter signed by 64 Members of Congress urging the House Judiciary Committee to reauthorize a provision that fast-tracks asylum for religious refugees from Iran.
“The situation for Iranian minorities is dangerous. We cannot slam their door to freedom. I call on Chairman Lamar Smith to act quickly and responsibly,” said Representative Waxman, who represents one of the largest concentrations of Iranian Americans in the United States.
The legislation in question, known as the Lautenberg Amendment, was enacted in 1989 to facilitate the path to asylum for historically persecuted Jews and Christians in the former Soviet Union and areas of Indochina. It was extended in 2003 to include religious minorities from Iran. Today, the program’s beneficiaries are predominantly Iranian Jews, Baha’is, and Christians.
For more information on the Lautenberg Amendment and to read a copy of the letter, please click here.