Tibetan leader-in-exile thanks US for migrants’ visas

Dharamsala, June 28 (IANS) Tibetan prime minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay Friday thanked the US Senate for passing a landmark comprehensive immigration bill, which enables creation of 5,000 immigrant visas for Tibetans settled in India and Nepal.

“I have had the opportunity to meet with several senators from both parties (Republican and Democratic) and I’m deeply grateful for their support for the inclusion of the Tibetan provision in the immigration bill,” Sangay said in a statement here.

“I now hope the Senate bill will receive support in the House of Representatives as well,” he said.

US Vice President Joe Biden, who presided over the roll call from the Senate’s dais, Thursday afternoon announced that the immigration bill had been approved by 68 to 32 in the 100-member chamber, more than the majority needed to send the measure to the house.

Officials of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), which is headquartered in this north Indian hill town, said among many provisions of the bill one is creation of 5,000 immigrant visas for Tibetans settled in India and Nepal over a three-year period.

The Tibet-related provision received broad bi-partisan support and was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein and cosponsored by Chairman Patrick Leahy and Senator Chuck Schumer, an official said.

He said Sangay, whose prime minister’s post has acquired added stature with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama stepping down from diplomacy and active politics, had visited the US three times since assuming the office.

In his meetings with various congressional leaders and their key aides, Sangay and his staff had pressed the case for Tibet and Tibetans, including with regard to immigration issues.

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