Rep. Rouda Joins Bipartisan, Bicameral Coalition to Introduce the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act
WASHINGTON – Congressman Harley Rouda (D-CA) joined a bipartisan, bicameral coalition to introduce the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act, which would designate the people of Hong Kong as Priority 2 refugees and create a path for frontline pro-democracy activists in immediate danger to seek asylum protection in the United States.
This legislation was led in the House by Representatives John Curtis (R-UT), Julian Castro (D-TX), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Liz Cheney (R-WY), Harley Rouda (D-CA), Ted Yoho (R-FL), and Tom Suozzi (D-NY), and in the Senate by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Todd Young (R-IN) and Ben Cardin (D-MD).
“Peaceful protesters in Hong Kong have bravely taken to the streets to demand the autonomy promised to them. Their fight for freedom warrants more than platitudes from the United States of America,” said Rouda. “The Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act epitomizes our nation’s commitment to stand with freedom-loving people everywhere and offer refuge to those fleeing tyranny.”
“Hong Kong represents a struggle for democracy. The people of Hong Kong have demonstrated a desire to fight for the freedom based American values we hold dear,” said Curtis. “The Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act will empower Hong Kongers to continue their fight for freedom, while letting them know the U.S. and global community have their back.”
“The United States has long served as a beacon of hope for people fighting for freedom around the globe. Many of us saw ourselves in the Hong Kong protesters taking to the streets to combat authoritarianism and exercise their voices,” said Vice-Chair Castro. “This bill ensures that America will offer refuge to Hong Kongers facing political persecution and provide a safe haven that is commensurate with their courage and commitment to liberty and justice.”
“The world witnessed the courage of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists, who last year took to the streets to defend their autonomy from China’s authoritarian grip,” said Rubio. “Following last night’s implementation of Beijing’s National Security Law, the U.S. must help Hong Kongers preserve their society at home and find refuge for those who face persecution for exercising the rights once guaranteed under the Joint Declaration. Through the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act, our nation would offer a safe-haven to many Hong Kongers who have tirelessly fought against tyranny.”
“As the people of Hong Kong continue to face Beijing’s tightening grip on their autonomy, freedoms and basic human rights, the United States must hold its torch high and proud for the tired, the poor and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” said Ranking Member Menendez. “We are introducing this bipartisan legislation to reiterate to the Chinese Communist Party that we stand resolutely with Hong Kong and its residents, and we will ensure they don’t fall through the cracks of our broken immigration system just because they were forced to flee for standing up for their rights.”
“The fight for Hong Kong is far from over, and the US can and must do more. HKDC believes one urgent and important US response right now is to give hope and protection to those who are risking their lives and freedoms defending Hong Kong. That’s why HKDC endorses and supports the bipartisan legislation ‘Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act’ being introduced in both the Senate and House. It is fitting that we are taking this action this week because 31 years ago, this month, we witnessed the horrific crackdown in Tiananmen Square. In the aftermath, the US was a beacon of hope and refuge for those who escaped the massacre. The US can and should do that again for the freedom-fighters in Hong Kong. I hope the legislation sends a message to the protesters and activists, especially those who have been arrested, jailed, beaten, and even kidnapped and tortured for their public involvement in the protests and courageous act of dissents – we have your back,” said Samuel Chu, Managing Director, Hong Kong Democracy Council (HKDC).