NEW YORK, N.Y. – CWS mourns the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, a long-standing champion of refugees and religious minorities. The Senator died this morning in New York at age 89.
“While we mourn his death, we also celebrate his life and his legacy of service,” said Rev. John McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service. “He cared deeply about the plight of refugees and fought hard to secure a future for those fleeing persecution and war.”
The New Jersey Senator championed the rights of refugees and immigrants since the early 1990s when he sponsored the Lautenberg Amendment. Over the past two decades he supported legislation to bring religious minorities to safety in the U.S. from countries including the Soviet Union and Iran. He was a firm supporter of comprehensive immigration reform.
“We look forward to honoring Senator Lautenberg’s legacy as we continue to fight for the protection of refugees and immigration reform in the coming months,” shared Rev. McCullough.
Speaking in 2003 on the importance of the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program, Senator Lautenberg said, “The doors of this country flew open when millions fled Eastern Europe… We must embrace our beliefs of tolerance and diversity and assist as many refugees we can."
Senator Lautenberg didn't just mouth these words, he lived them. His work survives as a testament to his advocacy in support of people seeking safe haven in the U.S.