Bill would make special immigrant visas available for Tibetans

I haven’t been at this long enough—following refugee resettlement—so I don’t know if this is unusual.  Two Congressmen have introduced HR 6536 which would allow 3000 Tibetans to enter the US as refugees over the next 3 years.  See this news account.

Dharamsala, July 19: A bill to provide 3,000 immigrant visas to Tibetans has been introduced in the US House on Thursday.

U.S. Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced the Tibetan Refugee Assistance Act on July 17 to provide 3,000 immigrant visas to long-staying Tibetan refugees in India and Nepal, according to a report by International Campaign for Tibet (ICT).

The Tibetan Refugee Assistance Act extends support by providing 3,000 immigrant visas to qualified Tibetans over a three year period, ICT’s report explained.

Why a special bill?   Each year the President determines what the ceiling will be for how many refugees will be admitted to the US, so it’s not clear to me whether bills like this one are attempts to add to the present ceiling of 80,000 for FY08, or are part of that 80,000.  It also strikes me that this is the State Department’s (really, the UN tells us) prerogative to choose which refugees we take and from where, and am now wondering if bills such as this are meant to tell the State Department what to do, or is it to stick a finger in China’s eye. 

A reminder to readers:  Refugees entering the US receive air fare loans, housing subsidies, food stamps, a case worker and other forms of welfare while immigrants entering the US through other means are basically on their own.  That is why there is such an interest in declaring someone a refugee.

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