Senator Lieberman To Receive HIAS Liberty Award For Peace And Freedom

Posted on Wed, May 31, 2006 at 14:46 pm

A Strong Advocate for Comprehensive Immigration Reform

(New York City)- Recognizing Joseph I. Lieberman’s (D-Conn.) tremendous efforts on behalf of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, will present him with its highest honor, the Liberty Award, at a ceremony in Washington May 23.

The award honors an individual “who has made a substantial contribution to the furtherance of peace and freedom.”

Senator Lieberman has been leading the push to ensure that Comprehensive Immigration Reform improves the treatment of asylum seekers in the United States. In every confirmation hearing of Department of Homeland Security nominees, he has been the only senator to persistently raise the asylum issue and demand fairer treatment of those who have fled persecution.

“Senator Lieberman is one of the Senate’s most vocal and articulate champions for individuals who have fled persecution,” says Mark Hetfield, HIAS’ new senior vice president for policy and programs . “Senator Lieberman’s bi-partisan leadership on national security issues, together with a strong reputation for integrity and credibility, has made his role as an asylum advocate all the more valuable.” Lieberman is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

Senator Lieberman has authored two amendments to Comprehensive Immigration Reform that would require more appropriate conditions of detention for those asylum seekers who are detained, provide for administrative review to prevent asylum seekers from being detained arbitrarily, and address inconsistencies in asylum referrals in the Expedited Removal process.

“HIAS has had over the 125 years of its existence a number of strong supporters in the White House as well as in Congress,” says Jerome Teller, chair of the HIAS board of directors. “Joe Lieberman stands out for us as a particularly strong advocate for the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers, and we are humbled that he has agreed to accept the HIAS Liberty Award.”
Past recipients of the award have included President Harry Truman, Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, political scientist Jeanne Kirkpatrick, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, U.S. Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.), New York Times editor A. M. Rosenthal, U.S. Rep. Benjamin Gilman (R- N.Y.), and Michigan Senator Spencer Abraham.