Join our Mailing List

"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Bill for 3,000 Immigrant Visas for Tibetans introduced in US House

July 22, 2008

By Phurbu Thinley
July 19, 2008

Dharamsala, July 19 -- A bill to provide 3,000 immigrant visas to
Tibetans has been introduced in the US House on Thursday.

U.S. Representatives George Miller (D-CA) and Jim Sensenbrenner
(R-WI) introduced the Tibetan Refugee Assistance Act on July 17 to
provide 3,000 immigrant visas to long-staying Tibetan refugees in
India and Nepal, according to a report by International Campaign for
Tibet (ICT).

The Tibetan Refugee Assistance Act extends support by providing 3,000
immigrant visas to qualified Tibetans over a three year period, ICT's
report explained.

Congressmen Miller and senior Republican lawmaker Jim Sensenbrenner
Jr. traveled to Dharamsala, India, as part of the 10-member
Congressional delegation in March this year to explore ways to
demonstrate support for the Tibetan people and. The delegation led by
Speaker Nancy Pelosi met with the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness
the Dalai Lama and expressed concern for the worsening situation in
Tibet following widespread anti-China unrest.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and nine other members of the US
congress, including Representatives George Miller and senior
Republican lawmaker Jim Sensenbrenner Jr., met with the Tibetan
leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, in Dharamsala on March 21, 2008
(Photo by Tenzin Dasel / Phayul.
Following their visit, Speaker Pelosi, with the members of a
bipartisan congressional delegation, also introduced House Resolution
1077 on April 3 which calls on China to cease the crackdown, release
protestors, provide unfettered access to journalists and independent
international monitors to Tibet, and engage in a results-based
dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

"Our legislation represents one small but very significant step that
the Congress can take to help the Tibetan people," Rep. Miller was
quoted as saying of the immigration bill introduced in the House on Thursday.

"The Tibetans face severe persecution under the Chinese government
and must be recognized by the United States for refugee assistance. I
am honored to have the opportunity to work with Rep. Sensenbrenner
and our other colleagues to address this particular problem and I
look forward to working with the State Department as this bill moves
forward," he said.

The introduction of the immigration bill in the House (H.R.6536: To
provide for the admission to the United States of certain Tibetans)
is the first step in a long legislative process. Introduced bills go
first to Congressional Committees that deliberate, investigate, and
revise them before they go to general debate.

"The plight of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhists is well-known,"
said Representative Sensenbrenner.

"During the course of the trip in March, I had the opportunity to
experience one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life - the
privilege of meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, head of state
and spiritual leader of Tibet. The meeting provided the delegation
with the opportunity to have a frank and comprehensive discussion
about the plight of the Tibetan people...with very few options
available to them...the legislation Congressman Miller and I
introduced today will provide relief...," he said.

Earlier, during the trip to Dharamsala, Congressman Sensenbrenner
said, "In United States Congress, there is no division between
Democrats and Republicans on the issue of protecting the Tibetan
culture and eliminating the repression in Tibet and elsewhere around
the world," He also insisted China on the need to hold dialogue with
the Dalai Lama and resolve Tibet issue through non-violence.

In 2006, Washington had, as part of its refugee resettlement
programme, arranged to offer a home in the US to 5,000 Tibetan
refugees from Nepal. However, the offer did not materialise because
the Nepalese government did not respond, apparently due to pressure
from China. Tibetan refugees living in Nepal need an exit permit from
the government to travel outside Nepal.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
Developed by plank