Congress extends Lautenberg migr amendment

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An extension to the Lautenberg Amendment, a law facilitating immigration for victims of religious persecution, including Jews, was included in the funding bill passed by Congress.

The continuing resolution approved by the Senate on March 20 and the House of Representatives the following day extends government spending until October and includes in it the Lautenberg Amendment, which facilitates the exit from Iran of members of the Jewish, Christian and Baha’i minorities.

Named for its original author, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), the amendment was first passed in 1990 to facilitate the exit of Jews from the Soviet Union.

At the Passover season, “we are thankful for Congress’ continuing commitment to protecting Jews, Christians, Baha’is and other persecuted religious minorities in Iran,” the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which led lobbying for the amendment’s extension, said in a statement.

Lautenberg, who is retiring next year, celebrated the amendment’s approval.

Also included in the continuing resolution was $10 million in Homeland Security funding for securing nonprofits. Most of such allocations in the past have gone to Jewish organizations. The Jewish Federations of North America, the Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel of America, groups that lobbied for the funding, praised the allocation. — jta