Leahy “Refugee Protection” bill doesn’t reform much

….actually it reforms nothing regarding the stress on communities overloaded with refugees and does nothing for the neglect of refugees by federal contractors which we report on frequently except throw more of your money to the contractors for salaries and such—two issues which I think are critical at this 30th anniversary juncture (in addition to the security issue!).

I first learned about the Leahy bill at the 30th anniversary “celebration” of the Refugee Resettlement Act that I attended in March at Georgetown University Law School.  Clearly the bill’s introduction was timed to coincide with the “celebration.”   Frankly I found it too boring to even report on here at RRW.  But, for the sake of thoroughness I need to tell you at least where to find more information on the subject.

Actually one of the things that really got me steamed at the “celebration” was that it was all about how to get more asylum seekers into the country (with no detention) where a phalanx of lawyers (immigration lawyer employment service anyone?) would be waiting to get them processed through the immigration courts. 

Then the other prong of the supposed reform is to make sure the resettlement agency contractors who are doing a lousy job now in many cases are just given more federal money before they even make any reforms to the program. 

There was nary a word of concern for the security of the American public with so many questionable illegal aliens coming across the border (Remember the 270 Somalis two months ago, if they had even been caught these people do not want them detained!).  Nor is there even a nod to the plight of cities in the great recession expected to cope with all the needy newcomers. 

With that said, is it any surprise that anybody who is anybody in the refugee industry is pushing the Leahy bill.   Groups hail Refugee bill here.

NEW YORK, 7 Apr (IPS) – Immigrants’ rights activists are virtually unanimous in their endorsement of proposed legislation that would change decades of U.S. asylum practices. But proponents of the legislation fear it may never find its way out of the U.S. Senate to the president’s desk.

Senator Patrick Leahy introduced the Refugee Protection Act of 2010 back in March. The objective of the bill is to “affirm the U.S. commitment to provide refuge to individuals fleeing persecution in their homelands.”

It helps restore protection to deserving individuals fleeing persecution and torture, who have been denied refuge under increasingly restrictive immigration laws and court decisions.

Chances for passage are slim.

But some Congress-watchers point out that historically, major refugee and immigration reform bills have not moved through Congress the same year that they were introduced. In addition, the Senate calendar has been so choked with health care legislation and other “must pass” bill that the House of Representatives is now referring to the upper body as “the place where bills go to die.”

Finally, the status of the Leahy bill could change if the Barack Obama administration decides to introduce comprehensive immigration legislation during the current session of Congress.

Meanwhile, pro-immigration groups are lobbying senators to obtain more co-sponsors. Thus far, all are Democrats. Getting two or three Republicans is one of the objectives of the White House, but immigration is one of the most predictable third rails of U.S. politics, especially in a mid-term election year.

If grassroots support were ever enough to get a bill through the Senate, Leahy’s legislation would have smooth sailing. It has been lavishly endorsed by more than 25 of the country’s leading immigration organisations.

You can read what Leahy says about his bill here.   And, Chris Coen at Friends of Refugees wrote about it here.

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