E-newsletter: Fighting to Preserve America’s Moral Obligation to Aid Those Fleeing Persecution

Mar 29, 2016 Issues: Foreign Affairs/Israel, New York and Our Neighborhoods

 Fighting to Preserve America’s Moral Obligation to Aid Those Fleeing Persecution


Rep. Nadler Statement at Judiciary Committee markup of Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act.

Last week, the House Judiciary Committee voted on the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act, a bill that would gut the U.S. refugee resettlement program.  Among its most damaging provisions is a restriction on the number of refugees allowed entry into the United States.  Under current law, the President determines the annual cap on refugees, which currently stands at 85,000. Many people believe this figure is already too low given the humanitarian crises unfolding in Syria and in Central America.  But this legislation would further reduce the cap by almost a third, to just 60,000 refugees. The restriction prevents us from being able to flexibly respond to changing international circumstances and emerging crises, making it impossible for us to fulfill our moral obligations to address humanitarian disasters around the world.
That is why I offered an amendment to strike this provision from the bill. As I said when offering my amendment, “there are as many as 60 million refugees world-wide today, more than at any time since World War II, but this bill would have us shrink our commitment to those most in need. We have a moral obligation to help the most desperate among us, but this legislation would force us to turn our backs on those who need our protection.”  Unfortunately, my amendment was defeated on a party line vote.

In our political climate, it is important to remember that what makes America great is that we extend a hand to those in need.  The Almanac of American Politics has said that, if it weren’t for the 1924 Immigration Act, perhaps 2 million of the 6 million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust would have been living safely in the United States instead.  This is a lesson we all can learn from, and I will continue to speak out against such shameful policies.

Click Here to view a video of my full statement.

Ensuring Affordability For New Yorkers Facing Cost Of Living Squeeze

I have long fought for those in my district—and throughout the country—who are economically vulnerable.Those of my constituents who are struggling financially depend on fair pay for their work, and on the availability of affordable food and housing.That is why I was proud to stand with Governor Cuomo, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and countless other advocates just a few weeks ago to join the call to pass paid family leave in New York, which would allow workers with a sick family member or a new child to care for their families without jeopardizing their income. It is also why I have long supported efforts to raise the federal minimum wage, an effort I continue to push in Congress. And it’s why I joined my fellow elected officials on the West Side of Manhattan this month to fight for the Associated Supermarket on W. 14thStreet, which will be forced to close in May because it cannot afford the rising rent, leaving many area residents without a source of affordable groceries. Access to affordable food is key for healthy communities and should not be out of reach because small businesses cannot afford to pay the increasing rents in our neighborhoods.

Similarly, as housing prices continue to rise, I have carried on my decades-long fight to increase funding for Section 8 housing to ensure that low-income New Yorkers can continue to live and work in their communities.Many constituents depend on our ability to protect affordable housing, and this fight has become increasingly important in the aftermath of sequestration, which eliminated tens of thousands of housing vouchers across the country. I am working with my colleagues to restore every one of those vouchers and ensure public housing agencies have the funding they need to adequately serve families.

Protecting the Rights of Women to Make Their Own Health Choices

Rep. Nadler video message on the 40th Anniversary of Roe v Wade.

In the forty years since Roe v. Wade was decided, anti-choice politicians have used any excuse to legislate against women’s personal health choices, against medical facts, and against the rights guaranteed in our Constitution. They have used religion, health and safety, and even falsified criminal accusations to block a woman from exercising her right to access abortion services. These laws are strikingly similar to the Jim Crow laws that put up countless roadblocks to keep African Americans away from the voting booths for decades. Having a constitutionally-protected right means nothing if the state bars you from exercising it.  

The continued attempts to limit access to reproductive health services have now led to the establishment of yet another investigation at the expense of American taxpayers. As someone who has fiercely defended the rights of women and families throughout my years of public service, I am proud to stand up for those rights as a Member of the House Judiciary Committee, and as one of the six Democratic Members serving on the Republican’s Select Panel, which met for the first time last month. It is our responsibility to continue the important work of protecting every American’s rights to make personal decisions about reproductive health, and, with facts on our side, I believe it is a fight that we will win.

 Renewed Calls to Close Indian Point

The Indian Point nuclear power plant is in the news once again for an accident that threatens our health and safety. The aging facility has leaked radiation into the surrounding ground water. In the last year alone, Indian Point has suffered seven major malfunctions, including pump and power failures, a transformer explosion, radiation leaks, fire, and an oil spill.

For many years, I have voiced strong concerns about the potential for a nuclear disaster at Indian Point and called for its closure. Indian Point is less than 40 miles from New York City, with more than 20 million people living in a 50 mile radius of the plant. Indian Point sits near two fault lines, and, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), has the highest risk of all nuclear reactors in the country to suffer core damage in an earthquake.

In light of these dangers, I have fought for tougher safeguards on nuclear power plants and against attempts to weaken our already lax nuclear safety standards. When the House majority has tried, repeatedly, to limit the authority of the NRC to impose safety regulations, I have offered amendments to restore this authority. I will continue the fight to shut down the Indian Point nuclear power plant, and to advocate for increased safety standards for nuclear plants nationwide.