Recent articles have reported that some administration officials have proposed resettling zero refugees in 2020 and that the administration is preparing an executive order to encourage states and localities to stop refugee resettlement.
Now is a critical time for state and local officials – governors, mayors, legislators, chambers of commerce – as well as businesses and other partners – to make their support for refugee resettlement clear. We encourage local and state officials to weigh in directly with the administration and with their Members of Congress, stating their support for the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
Officials can sign onto this joint letter by September 9th, and/or send their own letters to administration officials and their Senators and Representative(s). A sample draft letter is below, as is contact information for key administration officials and Congress. To maximize impact, letters should be sent by mid-September, since, by law, the administration has to set next year’s refugee admissions goal by September 30th.
Both public and private letters are welcomed and appreciated. Letters can be addressed separately to administration officials, urging them to safeguard the refugee resettlement program, and to Members of Congress, urging them to hold the administration accountable. Both letters to the administration and Congress are critical to make sure support for resettlement is being heard.
To demonstrate the breadth of support for resettlement, please let Refugee Council USA know if you have expressed support for resettlement to the administration and Congress by filling out this short form or emailing Sarah Seniuk at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support.
Dear President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo, Acting Secretary McAleenan, Secretary Azar, Senator [NAME], Senator [NAME], and Representative [NAME]:
We write to express concern regarding reports that some administration officials have proposed further reducing refugee resettlement, even bringing refugee admissions to zero in 2020. We urge you to prevent these proposed cuts and return refugee admissions to historic norms.
Our state welcomes refugees. Refugees are resilient, hard workers and valued members of our community. They contribute to our state’s economy as workers and entrepreneurs, paying taxes, starting businesses, revitalizing towns, and buying homes. [Add state specific information about refugees, refugees’ positive contributions to your state and/or ways that communities welcome refugees]
Since 1980, the U.S. has set an average annual refugee admissions goal of 95,000. In 2019, that goal was 30,000, the lowest in the history of the U.S. resettlement program. This reduction has negatively impacted refugees in our state who are awaiting family reunification, people of faith and other volunteers who are dedicated to welcoming refugees, and businesses across our state that employ refugees.
The United States has a long history of resettling refugees, who by definition have fled persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or social group. Resettlement is the last option for safety for refugees who cannot return home and cannot rebuild their lives in a nearby country. Refugees undergo rigorous security checks, including interviews with Department of Homeland Security officers. The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program is a public-private partnership between the federal government, state governments, local non-profit organizations, communities of faith, and volunteers.
Refugee resettlement is important to our state. We urge you to affirm the importance of this life-saving program, and to return it to historic norms. Thank you for your public service and attention to this matter.
Find Contact information for your U.S. Senators
Find Contact information for your Member(s) of the U.S. House of Representatives
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Vice President Michael R. Pence
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Secretary Michael R. Pompeo
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520
Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20528
Secretary Alex M. Azar II
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201