The Refugee Protection Act (RPA) of 2019 is a comprehensive blueprint for restoring and reinvigorating our refugee and asylum systems. This legislation is also a reflection of our nation's moral values and demonstrates our respect for the rule of law and international legal obligations to protect vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers.
Bolsters U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) & Expands Protections for Refugees:
- Requires the President to set an annual refugee admission goal of at least 95,000 – the historic average under all administrations since the creation of USRAP.
- Strengthens congressional consultation and reporting requirements to ensure more robust oversight over the President’s decisions with respect to USRAP.
- Establishes a program to admit certain refugees of special humanitarian concern from Northern Triangle countries.
- Provides arriving refugees lawful permanent resident status.
Restores Due Process and Dignity for Asylum Seekers:
- Establishes a presumption of release from detention for asylum seekers who pose no public safety risk and prohibits criminal prosecution of asylum seekers.
- Reverse former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ devastating Matter of A-B- decision, which has severely undermined the asylum claims of those fleeing domestic violence and gang brutality.
- Allows asylum seekers to reopen their claims if they were barred or lost because of the Trump administration’s asylum bans or Migration Protection Protocols (MPP).
- Requires the Attorney General to appoint counsel for immigrant children and particularly vulnerable individuals, and expands access to counsel and legal orientation programs to all detained immigrants.
Expands Protections for Immigrants Cooperating with Law Enforcement & Foreign Nationals Assisting U.S. Troops:
- Expands the number of U visas for crime victims who are cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of crimes.
- Improves processing times for refugee and Special Immigrant Visa applications from Iraqi and Afghan partners who assisted U.S. troops in combat zones.
- Establishes a new category of refugees of special humanitarian concern for Syrian Kurdish allies and other Syrians in imminent danger following U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria.
- Establishes new Special Immigrant Visa program for Syrians who worked as employees of U.S. government in Syria.
Sponsors, as of November 21, 2019
The Senate bill is cosponsored by 16 Senators: Senators Leahy, Harris, Booker, Hirono, Markey, Shaheen, Gillibrand, Blumenthal, Cardin, Wyden, Murray, Sanders, Reed, Merkley, Warren, and Klobuchar.
The House bill is cosponsored by 31 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives: Representatives Lofgren, Nadler, Jayapal, Neguse, Castro, Crow, Dean, DeLauro, DeSaulnier, Engel, Escobar, Espaillat, Garcia, Grijalva, Higgins, Johnson, Khanna, Lowenthal, McGovern, Napolitano, Norton, Pallone, Panetta, Quigley, Raskin, Sires, Smith, Swalwell, Watson Coleman, Welch, and Tlaib.