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Bush Approves Additional $32 Million for Refugees

U.S. President George Bush has approved more than $32 million in additional funding to support refugees and victims of conflict in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

First Lady Laura Bush announced the additional funding at a White House ceremony marking World Refugee Day.

"We recognize citizens from African nations like Somalia and Sudan, who were forced to flee their homes by ongoing violence," she said. "We recognize families from Iraq and Afghanistan, who were terrorized in their neighborhoods. And, on only one day after Aung San Suu Kyi's birthday, where she's passed another year under house arrest, we recognize activists and ethnic populations in Burma, who were pushed into refugee camps by an oppressive military regime."

The United Nations says there are currently more than 11 million refugees around the world and millions more who have are internally displaced by conflict or persecution.

The United States this year will spend more than $1 billion for food and shelter to help resettle refugees. Mrs. Bush says America will take in as many as 70,000 displaced people.

"Many American families came to this country to escape repressive regimes and build better futures. We honor this legacy by welcoming more refugees annually than any other nation," she added.

In the last 30 years, the United States has accepted nearly 3 million refugees.