Hong Kong

Senate Bill Would Grant Refugee Status to Hong Kong Protestors

The legislation cuts lots of red tape surrounding the visa process.


Five senators introduced a bill Tuesday that would grant priority for refugee status to Hongkongers fleeing government persecution or arrest.

The Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act was sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.), Todd Young (R–Ind.), Robert Menendez (D–N.J.), Benjamin Cardin (D–Md.), and Jeff Merkley (D–Ore.). 

In addition to granting priority status for visa applications, the legislation would allow Hongkongers to get nonimmigrant visas even if they plan to immigrate and would keep applicants eligible even if their Hong Kong residency is revoked. More notably, Hong Kong residents would be exempt from the existing visa quotas, which ordinarily create fierce competition among visa applicants.

The bill's beneficiaries are currently limited to Hongkongers actively involved in recent protests. Specifically, it covers protest organizers, first-aid responders, journalists, lawyers, and members of their direct families.

The bipartisan bill comes in response to Hong Kong's new "national security" law, passed on Tuesday, which introduced a slew of restrictions on activists' rights to assemble and protest.

The United States "must help Hong Kongers preserve their society at home and find refuge for those who face persecution," Rubio said in a statement. "Through the Hong Kong Safe Harbor Act, our nation would offer a safe-haven to many Hong Kongers who have tirelessly fought against tyranny."

Rep. Tom Malinowski (D–N.J.) introduced a companion bill in the House on Tuesday. It would expedite the immigration process for skilled Hongkongers and the residency process for Hong Kong already here.

In addition to helping Hongkongers flee political persecution, a relaxed visa policy could initiate a massive "brain drain" that would see Hong Kong's skilled labor force flee totalitarian rule for U.S. soil en masse, argues Bloomberg columnist Eli Lake. Similar policies have bolstered economic growth in the past. According to Forbes contributor Scott Beyer, the Mariel boatlift revitalized Miami through increased entrepreneurship while accelerating the Cuban regime's decline.

The bill's scope pales in comparison to the measures taken by the United Kingdom, which announced this week it would grant up to 3 million Hongkongers residency and a path to U.K. citizenship. But the legislation marks a promising first step toward a more comprehensive plan to help Hongkongers caught in a brutal crackdown.

Bonus video: Check out Reason's documentary on letting Hongkongers come to America:

NEXT: Empowered by Excessive Regulations, 'Permit Karen' Harasses Her Neighbors and Calls the Cops

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  1. But Australia is right there.

    1. But it’s better for American billionaires like Reason.com’s benefactor Charles Koch if they come here.

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    2. Why Australia why not Taiwan.

      1. Taiwan is probably next on China’s “integration” plan.

        1. Not for quite a while. China has to deal with the CCP virus pandemic and a new swine flu that is transmissible to humans, floods and the possible collapse of Three Gorges Dam (along with tens of billions in losses, especially crop and housing disasters even if the dam doesn’t collapse), the CCP virus a new swine flu that is transmissible to humans, trouble with India, not to mention Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, potential trouble in Tibet and Xinjiang. Would the CIA pass up a chance to arm those who would massacre all Han Chinese? Besides that, the USN is moving back into Subic Bay and the USAF regularly operates and drills at the former Clark AFB.
          That being said, I spent four years on Gators as a landing craft driver, practicing invasion with allies around the Pacific Rim. I’ve been teaching English in Taiwan for quite a while and I have never seen a place with so much well-thought-out defense infrastructure. An attempt to invade Taiwan won’t be a walk in the park.

          1. Oops! Didn’t proofread before posting.

  2. should post Mrs. Rubio pics when Marco is the story

  3. Good luck, Senate, getting any Chinese television contracts to broadcast your committee hearings now.

  4. Hong Kong? Phooey.

    1. number one super guy.

      1. Quicker than the human eye.

  5. I have a proposal that would benefit everyone involved.
    The United States allows all people from Hong Kong to migrate here, and in return, we will trade them for all the BLM, Pantifa, socialists, communists, and liberals who have a slobbering love affair with Marxist nations.
    It’s a win-win deal.
    Everyone gets what they want.
    The people of Hong Kong get to live a free country, and the left get to live in a communist totalitarian state and work for Phil Knight and Nike as slave laborers living on starvation wages in a political system they adore so much.

    1. we will trade them for all the BLM, Pantifa, socialists, communists, and liberals who have a slobbering love affair with Marxist nations.

      But why stop there? Give them the feeders, furries, and deviant art users too. Disgusting mutts.

    2. Wait….. I thought living in a communist totalitarian state meant that you don’t have to work, but the government takes care of all your needs. Chinese folks just don’t understand how damn lucky they are to constantly be on a mohito vacay.

      1. “Chinese folks just don’t understand how damn lucky they are to constantly be on a mohito vacay.”

        Isn’t that the truth?
        I’m trying to help people who hate America, capitalism and freedom to move to a socialist slave state to make them happy and content.
        This is what happens when you try to help people.

  6. The idea of pissing off China entices me. I’d love to see a law passed allowing entry to anyone with a Hong Kong passport, as a vacation visa, work visa, immigration visa, whatever.

    I’d also love to be a fly on the wall when Xi got word of it. Little tickles my funny bone so well.

  7. Smart!

    Very smart!

  8. Finally, a bipartisan bill that doesn’t suck geriatric horse cock.


      1. No bro, there is definitely something wrong with you if you suck horse cock.

  9. If they are educated and smart and can get a good job here then sure. If they are not, then no.

    Better option is to trade them for some of our useless left wingers as suggested above.

  10. Even if you oppose this, for whatever reason, this is the constitutional and appropriate way to deal with the rules of naturalization. Congress votes the rules up or down, the President signs them or not, then they become law or they don’t.

    Contrast this with DACA.

    All those dreamers out there remain in limbo specifically because it’s an executive order that can be rescinded at any time and is unconstitutional on its face. If the Supreme Court had declared DACA unconstitutional last week, the House probably would have passed a bill to protect them already.

  11. We could use more agents and interpreters if the Communivirus Chernobyl and Missouri lawsuit do not bring down the Evil Empire.

  12. It is sad to see the end of free Hong Kong. China is ruthlessly using our current moment of weakness to extend their reach, though they are foolishly killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, they just don’t get it. And corporate America, like Blizzard, don’t want to offend China, because so there is so much money to be made. We allow political asylum for many nations, and I think those wishing to flee Hong Kong qualify. Don’t worry about the quality of immigrants. They are smart, hardworking, educated people. But that might offend redneck America. Rubio is grandstanding a bit, but I think it is the right plan, and I like Rubio. He would make a good President; much better than the current clown in chief.

  13. Yes, because what the US most urgently needs is young protesters and malcontents, with a dollop of communist Chinese operatives. And once they are here, they can graduate from protesting the Chinese communist party to joining the BLM movement and protesting white oppression.

  14. Senate Bill Would Grant Refugee Status to Hong Kong Protestors

    No offense – but why? Why us and not the Brits?

    1. The Brits have offered up to 3 million visas from what I understand.

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  17. Will be interesting to see who votes against this bill. Wouldn’t it be nice if we can all agree that China sucks and vote 100% in favor of this bill? However, after watching Chairman James and NBA pander to China so pathetically, I’m confident there will be China sympathizers that vote no.

    1. I would like to go much further and organize an international coalition to isolate China both diplomatically and economically. A healthy vibrant China is anathema to freedom in the rest of the world.

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