U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), members of the "Gang of 8," today praised Senate action to honor late Senator Frank R. Lautenberg's legacy of work in protecting refugees and religious minorities by naming a set of provisions in the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill the Frank R. Lautenberg Asylum and Refugee Reform Act.
"Frank was the Senate's champion in fighting to protect refugees and religious minorities fleeing persecution," said Sen. Menendez. "That's why we wanted to honor his legacy by naming the significant refugee and asylum provisions in this bill after him, including a provision extending the principles underlying the "Lautenberg Amendment' which has provided a pathway to protection and opportunity for so many who have come to our shores."
"Frank's long-history on asylum and refugee issues is a significant part of the legacy he leaves behind," Sen. Durbin said. "It's fitting we name this important section of this bill after a man who fought to protect and defend the rights and dignity of people around the world and those seeking a better life in America."
"Nobody cared more about refugees and those fleeing persecution than Frank," said Sen. Schumer. "Naming these parts of immigration reform after him honors a lifetime of work that will inspire all of those who will continue his fight."
Since 1990, the "Lautenberg Amendment' has allowed tens of thousands of Jews and other religious minorities from the former Soviet Union to gain refugee status and receive protection in the United States. One of the provisions of the Frank R. Lautenberg Asylum and Refugee Reform Act would allow the President to designate certain vulnerable groups of refugees in an humanitarian crisis and adopt efficiencies in processing their cases--just like the previous Lautenberg amendment did for certain religious minorities.
Other provisions in this section of the bill will eliminate the one year filing deadline on filing an asylum claim, provide protection to stateless persons and protect certain family members of refugees and asylees.