WASHINGTON – A new bipartisan bill seeks to provide “Priority 2” refugee status for ethnic Uyghurs, “and others who are suffering from arbitrary arrest, mass detention, and political and religious persecution by the Chinese government.”
Four Representatives: Ted Deutch (D-FL), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), and Chris Smith (R-NJ), introduced the bill this week, calling to expedite their ability to apply for refugee status and asylum in the United States.
“As Jews and as Americans, we have a moral responsibility to act,” Deutch told The Jerusalem Post in a statement. “I’m proud of our country’s storied history of offering refuge to oppressed people, but as a Jew, I’m also keenly aware of our past failures to welcome refugees in time to save them.”
“We cannot turn away when the Chinese government loads Uyghurs on trains to camps, when officials forcibly cut the beards of Uyghur men, and when torture and cultural repression are used to purge the Uyghurs of their very identity. Our history and our values compel us to act,” he said.
According to the legislation, Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities facing repression and persecution by the Chinese government will be designated as Priority 2 Refugees. “P-2 is for groups of special humanitarian concern to the United States who are designated by the US government for resettlement processing and provides them direct access to the US refugee system,” the statement reads.
“The Communist regime in China brutally oppresses the Chinese people and has engaged in particularly horrific abuses against the Uyghur people,” Congressman Diaz-Balart said in a statement.
Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton noted that “Cultural genocide, forced labor and other atrocities which the Uyghur people and other Muslim minorities are suffering at the hands of the Chinese government is a human rights crisis and demands our urgent attention.”