City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky has announced plans to accompany a delegation of former Soviet Jews later this month to visit thousands of fellow emigres who left the Soviet Union but were stranded in Italy when U.S. authorities began to run short of refugee visas.
More than 400 former Soviet citizens jammed the board room of the Jewish Federation-Council in the Mid-Wilshire district this week to discuss the emigres. They applauded loudly as Yaroslavsky vowed that political pressure would result in the allocation of more federal funds to expand the refugee program.
“There is no reason that the United States government should not be reuniting families, not keeping them apart,” said Yaroslavsky.
Other speakers urged the crowd to sign petitions and write letters to Congress on behalf of an estimated 10,000 former Soviets who have been delayed for months or refused refugee status on the basis that they do not have a “well-founded fear of persecution” in the Soviet Union.