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Congressman Neguse Leads Bipartisan Letter to Oppose Trump Administration Actions Targeting U.S. Refugee Resettlement

August 7, 2019
Press Release

Washington D.C. —Today, Congressman Joe Neguse, who represents Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District and co-chairs the bipartisan congressional Refugee Caucus, led a bipartisan letter opposing a reported Trump administration proposal to drastically cut the number of refugees admitted through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (“USRAP”), cuts that would be in direct conflict with Congress’s intent in the 1980 Refugee Act. The Trump Administration is reported to be seeking to lower the minimum number of refugees admitted to the U.S. from 30,000 each year to zero for Fiscal Year 2020. Congressman Neguse is joined on this letter by two of his fellow co-chairs of the Congressional Refugee Caucus, Representatives Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) and Mario Díaz-Balart (FL-25), along with 29 additional caucus members

“This letter calls on the Administration to allow for a refugee resettlement number that reflects America’s historic leadership in openness and protection,” said Congressman Neguse. “Diminishing the U.S. refugee resettlement program would mean the administration is turning their back on some of our world’s most vulnerable individuals. As the son of refugees, I know how critical this program is for the safety and future of refugees, as well as the invaluable values and contributions people seeking refuge in the U.S. give to our nation."

Since the creation of the United States refugee resettlement program in 1980, the United States has committed to resettling an average of 95,000 refugees each year, and has admitted an average of 85,000 refugees annually. Amongst these individuals seeking resettlement are Iraqis who face persecution for serving alongside U.S. troops, Yazidi survivors of religious persecution by ISIS, pro-democracy leaders, survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and others who remain in danger in host countries and require resettlement.  By diminishing the U.S. refugee resettlement program, the U.S. would be turning our backs on these vulnerable individuals.

“Church World Service (“CWS”) hails the leadership the Bipartisan Congressional Refugee Caucus has demonstrated by delivering a letter to the administration calling for a restoration of the United States refugee admissions program,” said Rev. John L. McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service. “In the past two years, the administration has endangered the lives of vulnerable people that the United States promised to protect by cutting the refugee admissions program by 75%. As a refugee resettlement agency, we have seen firsthand the impact these cuts have meant to the clients we work with like Afkab Hussein, who was resettled in Ohio with the promise that his wife and newborn son would be able to join him shortly after. It has been three years and Afkab is still waiting for his wife and son to join him in safety. Returning to historic levels of refugee admissions is a necessary first step to restore our nation’s legacy of compassion, and CWS is proud to partner with the Bipartisan Congressional Refugee Caucus to make it happen.”

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