June 4, 2020
Today, on the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, U.S. Senator Ben Sasse introduced legislation that would allow the United States to automatically grant asylum for Hong Kongers.
“Americans can honor the memory of those who stood for freedom in Tiananmen Square in 1989 by standing in solidarity with Hong Kong today. The United States must always be a refuge for victims of communism. Hong Kong’s bravest – men and women who have fought communism’s tyranny and oppression – will find safety here until their home is free. Americans must stand with our U.K. and Taiwanese allies in extending lifelines of liberty to the people of Hong Kong. We will welcome these Hong Kongers with open arms.”
The Sasse legislation grants asylum to individuals who currently possess the Right of Abode (Permanent Residency) in Hong Kong by birth and who have maintained a continuous residency in Hong Kong since.
Consistent with visa requirements in Sec. 206 of the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, applicants who meet eligibility criteria and are otherwise qualified many not be denied asylum primarily on the basis of the applicant’s subjection to politically-motivated arrest, detention, or other adverse government action.
Because of Beijing’s strategy in places like Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang, the legislation requires an interagency consultation regarding any risk associated with granting asylum to an applicant who meets eligibility criteria.
Asylum for eligible Hong Kongers will terminate when the Secretary of State certifies to Congress that Hong Kong has regained a high degree of autonomy to warrant differential treatment under U.S. law consistent with reporting requirements in the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992 as amended.
The Secretary of State will also develop a strategy to provide support and assistance to other countries offering refuge for the people of Hong Kong.