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Statement before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, DC, August 1, 1995
I appreciate this opportunity to reaffirm the President's deep commitment to the United States refugee program as well as to outline for the committee and to present to you the President's specific proposal for the Fiscal Year 1996 refugee admissions program.
Perhaps more than at any time since 1980-when the Refugee Act was enacted--the question of to whom and in what numbers this country should offer permanent resettlement is generating considerable national interest. There are, no doubt, many reasons for the renewal of this debate, but the changed circumstances of global migration in the post-Cold War period and its impact on the United States is one of the most significant. We are not alone. Many other countries are wrestling with the same issues. But it is clear that we, the United States, must provide the necessary leadership within the international community to ensure that refugee resettlement remains available to those for whom there is no other viable alternative.
Refugee resettlement embodies who we are and what we stand for as a nation. Throughout our history, flight from tyranny has caused millions of people to seek refuge in our land of freedom. In a decade dominated by ethnic tensions, ethnic cleansing, and ethnically inspired violence and killing, it is essential that America remain an example of tolerance and compassion. Given the numerous volatile situations in the world today, we believe that the United States must retain maximum flexibility to offer resettlement opportunities, when needed, and to be in a position to encourage other countries to accept their international responsibilities. It is for this reason that we oppose any legislated numerical cap on annual refugee admissions.
Having said this, let me emphasize that we concur that the use of resettlement as a …