US 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. Congressmen Miller and Sensenbrenner traveled to Dharamsala, India, as part of the Congressional delegation led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi in March to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, express concern for the volatile situation in Tibet, and explore ways to demonstrate support for the Tibetan people. The Tibetan Refugee Assistance Act extends support by providing 3,000 immigrant visas to qualified Tibetans over a three year period.
“Our legislation represents one small but very significant step that the Congress can take to help the Tibetan people,” Rep. Miller said. “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 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.”
“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…”
The introduction of the immigration bill in the House (H.R.6536) is the first step in a long legislative process.