(Extensions of Remarks - June 20, 2012)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1093]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                    IN SUPPORT OF WORLD, REFUGEE DAY


                         HON. LAURA RICHARDSON

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Wednesday, June 20, 2012

  Ms. RICHARDSON. Mr. Speaker, today I rise in support of World Refugee 
Day. Across the globe approximately 43.7 million people have been 
displaced after being forced to flee their homes due to the threat of 
persecution, violence and conflict. The majority of these people are 
forced to live in extreme poverty and endure unspeakable conditions.
  This is a day where we can honor the courage and strength of those 
that have lost everything, through no fault of their own. Many have had 
to make the terrifying decision of risking their lives, and their 
families lives by staying in a conflict stricken area, or leaving their 
home, families and possessions behind in an attempt to find safer 
  The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees provides lifesaving 
assistance and protection to 33.7 million of those displaced, but even 
this is not enough. Women and children in camps experience high levels 
of rape and assault, and there is rarely enough food to go around. 
Health conditions in these camps are often extremely poor and disease 
runs rampant.
  Mr. Speaker, the United States has taken in countless numbers of 
refugees in our history. They have become an essential part of the 
fabric of our society, but we can still do more. This is why I am a co-
sponsor of H.R 690, a resolution that recognizes America's positive 
impact on the international refugee community, but calls for important 
changes to be made to H.R. 2185, the Refugee Protection Act of 2011.
  These changes would eliminate the 1-year filing deadline for asylum 
applications that puts at risk thousands of people each year, create a 
path to legal citizenship and ensure that victims of persecution are 
not inadvertently forced back to the countries they fled to begin with.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a day to remember that we are the lucky ones. We 
live in the greatest country in the world where freedom of belief, 
speech, and press amongst others are God given rights, not privileges. 
As a member of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus I fully support 
the efforts of the UNHCR and H.R. 690 to try and make that a reality 
for all, regardless of nationality.
  Today I rise to recognize all those living in poverty stricken 
refugee camps because it is safer than going home, and those all those 
who dream of returning to the land of their fathers, but are unable to 
do so. I ask my colleagues to support H.R. 690, and I support the 
honorable efforts of World Refugee Day.