Monday, October 8, 2018
It takes something pretty dramatic to trigger a bipartisan outcry these days, but the Trump Administration has done it. What worked to bring House Democrats and Republicans together?: The Administration's proposal to limit refugees to 30,000 per year, and the evidence that only 21,000 have been accepted this year despite the worldwide refugee crisis.
On September 19, the co-chairs of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the U.S. Congress -- Rep. Jim McGovern (D. MA) and Rep. Randy Hultgren -- issued a powerful joint statement, reading in part:
“Refugee resettlement has been and should continue to be a cornerstone of American foreign policy. We should not be stepping back from our responsibility as a global leader in refugee resettlement, but rather stepping up to provide a safe and legal alternative for those most in need of safety. Resettlement is crucial to alleviate instability throughout the world, maintain strong relationships with our allies, and advance our foreign policy interests. By providing safe haven for refugees, we help to keep ourselves safe.
The United States cannot abandon its role as a place of sanctuary for the individuals and families seeking to escape violence, turmoil, and persecution. We cannot turn our back on the international community in a time of historic need. We urge the administration to reconsider its position to comport with global realities as we remain committed to work to ensure that the United States continues to welcome all from around the world seeking a place of safety and protection.”
On October 7, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also expressed concern about the Administration's approach and called for higher refugee admission limits.
For a backgrounder on how the U.S. refugee system works, see this informative piece by the Council on Foreign Relations.