June 8, 2000
SEEKING REFUGE IN AMERICA TODAY
NPR’s Barbara Bradley to Discuss Asylum with Zairian Kalala Kalao and Legal Experts
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Strict quotas limited admission of Jewish refugees to the United States in the 1930s, with catastrophic results. There were no special provisions for those fleeing persecution. Now, decades after the Holocaust, U.S. law offers asylum to those who arrive here and prove “a well-founded fear of persecution.” How much has the system changed? What is it like to seek refuge in America today? The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum presents Seeking Refuge in America Today, a public program examining today’s asylum system, on Thursday, June 15, at 7:00 p.m.
Seeking Refuge in America Today will feature National Public Radio’s Barbara Bradley in a conversation with journalist Kalala Kalao, who was granted asylum in the U.S. after threats against his life in the former Zaire; Mitch Zamoff, the volunteer attorney who helped him get asylum; and Georgetown Law Professor Philip Schrag, author of the new book, A Well-Founded Fear: The Congressional Battle to Save Political Asylum. The program is sponsored by the Museum’s Committee on Conscience with the cooperation of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.
Seeking Refuge in America Today is one in a series of programs presented in conjunction with the Museum’s newest special exhibition, Flight and Rescue, which tells the story of a handful of Jewish refugees who - through a series of fortuitous events and the goodwill of two diplomats - secured the precious documentation needed for refuge in the Far East during World War II. The Flight and Rescue exhibition will remain open following the program. Admission to the program is free, but reservations are encouraged. For reservations, contact tickets.com at (800) 400-9373. Tickets.com service fees apply.
“America is still haunted by the image of the St. Louis, when Jews fleeing Nazi persecution were denied refuge on our shores,” said Jerry Fowler, Staff Director of the Museum’s Committee on Conscience, which is hosting the program. “One response was today’s political asylum system. This program will explore, in both personal and global terms, how that system works.”