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Vice President Gore says U.S. will accept 20,000 Kosovo refugees

Vice President Gore said Wednesday the government will give temporary shelter in the United States to 20,000 refugees from Kosovo.
In a speech at Ellis Island, Mr. Gore said the resettlement would focus on "those with close family ties in America and those who are vulnerable, and we will have them here until they are able to return home safely."

Marie Echaveste, the White House deputy chief of staff, said an effort would be made to match refugees with relatives or sponsors in the U.S. "We're going to be focusing on family reunification," she said.

With today's announcement, the government eliminated from consideration the plan to move 20,000 Kosovo refugees to the U.S. military base in Guantanamo, Cuba.

Reynold Levy, president of the International Rescue Committee, said the IRC looks forward to assisting the government with the temporary resettlement program. The IRC has 21 resettlement offices around the United States, and last year helped 9,500 refugees start new lives in this country.