May 15, 2002 - Issue: Vol. 148, No. 62 — Daily Edition107th Congress (2001 - 2002) - 2nd Session
HONORING KENTUCKY REFUGEE MINISTRIES
(Senate - May 15, 2002)
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[Page S4384] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HONORING KENTUCKY REFUGEE MINISTRIES Mr. BUNNING. Mr. President, I rise today to honor the 23 members of Kentucky Refugees Ministries, Inc. (KRM) for all they have done to bring and welcome refugees to Kentucky. Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Inc. is the refugee resettlement office in the Commonwealth of Kentucky for two national church-based programs: Church World Service and The Episcopal Migration Ministries. This group, which has offices in both Louisville and Lexington, is authorized by the U.S. Department of State to assist refugees legally admitted to the United States as victims of warfare, or other forms of persecution related to their religious or political beliefs. Since their inception in 1990, KRM has placed over 3,000 refugees representing 25 different nationalities and ethnic groups, in various communities throughout the Commonwealth. Once the refugees have been admitted, KRM provides them with housing, furnishings, food, and clothing. They also offer educational opportunities such as English and cultural orientation classes in order to help refugees adapt to their new life. In virtually every instance, these individuals have become productive and active citizens, willing to work their way up from the bottom in an effort to live the American dream. One fact we as Americans must never forget is that our forefathers were also political and religious refugees in search of a better life. The system they established was specifically set up so people could live their lives without fear of endless persecution. Late last year, President Bush signed the Presidential Determination authorizing the United States to admit 70,000 refugees in 2002. I applaud President Bush's efforts concerning refugees. Only 8,100 refugees, a quarter of the number admitted at the same time last year, have so far been admitted. This slowdown in admittance has obviously occurred because of security matters resulting from the September 11 tragedies. However, I hope that soon we can begin expediting refugee admittance again after we put the proper security and safety procedures in place. The principles of freedom and democracy our nation lives by must serve as our guide in this extremely important matter. If we let these individuals languish in deplorable conditions in refugee camps or hostile lands, we will be turning our backs on the principles we so cherish. We cannot let this happen. Once again, I ask that my colleagues join me in thanking and honoring KRM. I am grateful to know that Kentucky's adopted refugees and their families are being looked after in such a careful and caring manner. ____________________