Sending Office: Honorable David N. Cicilline
Sent By:
Helen.Droddy@mail.house.gov

**DEADLINE EXTENDED**

The deadline to sign on is Wednesday, July 11, 2018

 

SUPPORT AN INCREASE IN REFUGEE ADMISSIONS

Stand with victims of persecution, violence, and humanitarian disasters.

Current Signers: Alma S. Adams, Ph.D., Donald S. Beyer Jr., Earl Blumenauer, Michael Capuano, André Carson, David N. Cicilline, Yvette D. Clarke, Elijah E. Cummings, Adriano Espaillat, Luis V. Gutierrez, Brian Higgins, Pramila Jayapal, Henry
C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Betty McCollum, James P. McGovern, Gwen Moore, Jerrold Nadler, Bill Pascrell, Mark Pocan, Jamie Raskin, Tim Ryan, Jan Schakowsky, Albio Sires, Dina Titus, Juan Vargas, Bonnie Watson Coleman

Dear Colleague:

The world is facing the largest refugee crisis in recorded history, with 22.5 million refugees worldwide. Global displacement has reached an all-time high of 68.5 million.

Please join us in urging Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen to set the Presidential Determination for Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2019 to 110,000.

Each year, the President, in consultation with the Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security, and Congress, issues a determination of the number of refugees appropriate for admission into the U.S. Since the 1980 Refugee Act was signed into law,
the average annual goal for refugee admissions to the United States has been 96,000. Unfortunately, more than halfway through Fiscal Year 2018, the U.S. Refugee and Admission Program (USRAP) has only admitted 14,887 refugees, less than one third of the record-low
45,000 authorized for admission.

The International Rescue Committee reports that nearly 60 percent of Americans believe the U.S. has a moral obligation to help refugees. The U.S. refugee resettlement program reflects the United States’ highest values and aspirations to compassion, generosity,
and leadership. When we resettle refugees and support our allies in refugee hosting countries we are helping to keep the U.S. safe. Failing to do our part to alleviate this global crisis undermines our leadership, diplomacy, and national security.

We hope that you will join with us to ensure that our nation continues to serve as a beacon of hope for those who have nowhere else to turn. To sign the letter or for more information please contact Helen Droddy with Rep. Cicilline at
Helen.Droddy@mail.house.gov. The deadline to sign on is COB July 11, 2018.

Sincerely,

David N. Cicilline                    Luis V. Gutiérrez

Member of Congress               Member of Congress

 

Pramila Jayapal                            Bill Pascrell   

Member of Congress               Member of Congress

 

Juan Vargas

Member of Congress 

 

Letter text:

The Honorable Mike Pompeo                                     The Honorable Kirstjen M. Nielsen

Secretary                                                                     Secretary

U.S. Department of State                                            U.S. Department of Homeland Security

2201 C Street, NW                                                     3801 Nebraska Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20520                                              Washington, DC 20530

Dear Secretaries Pompeo and Nielsen:

We write to urge you to set the Presidential Determination (PD) for Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2019 to 110,000. We are concerned that the United States is abdicating its leadership and moral responsibility to accept innocent people fleeing persecution
and conflict. More than halfway through Fiscal Year 2018, the U.S. Refugee and Admission Program (USRAP) has only admitted 14,887 refugees, making it extremely unlikely it will even meet the record low goal of 45,000 refugee admissions set by the Administration.

As you know, we commemorated World Refugee Day on June 20th, at a time when the world was, and still is, facing the largest refugee crisis in recorded history, with 22.5 million refugees worldwide. Since the 1980 Refugee Act was signed into law, the average
annual goal for refugee admissions to the United States has been 96,000. USRAP has safely and successfully resettled more than three million refugees from around the world to American communities. 

History has shown that U.S. national security and foreign policy interests benefit from the U.S. refugee resettlement program. National security leaders, including Henry Kissinger, Michael Chertoff, Madeleine Albright, and Leon Panetta wrote a letter in
2015 noting that “[…] resettlement initiatives help advance U.S. national security interests by supporting the stability of our allies and partners that are struggling to host large numbers of refugees.” Resettlement is critical to our ability to help alleviate
regional instability across the globe, maintain relationships with allies, and advance our foreign policy interests. When we resettle refugees and support our allies in refugee hosting countries, we are helping to keep the U.S. safe.

The USRAP also helps provide a safe haven for those who assist U.S. troops, diplomats, and intelligence services. This ensures that U.S. agencies receive the support they need and that U.S. troops are safe. Protecting the lives of our allies overseas is
not only a question of our moral obligation, but also of national security. Not fulfilling our promises to our allies, who put their lives on the line to support our troops, undermines our credibility as a nation. This could threaten the lives of American
soldiers, diplomats, and other personnel abroad.

Resettlement is the “last resort” for refugees who cannot return to their home country; it is a critical safety net in the humanitarian system. Fewer than 1% of refugees worldwide have access to resettlement and only a fraction of that 1% come to the U.S.
Due to ongoing wars, regional instability, lack of economic or governmental infrastructure, and persistent threats of persecution, some refugees will never be able to repatriate safely to their country of origin. Additionally, many refugees will never be able
to live safely in the community to which they fled, due to particular vulnerabilities such as very serious medical conditions, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, being a single-female head of household, threats in refugee camps, or the inability
to work or go to school.

Refugees are the most vetted population entering the U.S. and undergo a rigorous screening process that takes roughly two years and involves our nation’s top security and counter-terror experts. The exhaustive vetting process includes checking fingerprints
and other biometric data against terrorist and criminal databases as well as multiple interviews through Federal agencies.

Further reductions in the USRAP will hurt the current institutional capacity within the Federal government and resettlement agencies resulting in a loss of institutional memory and expertise.  Additionally, it is unjustifiable to lower the refugee admissions
number claiming it will result in a reduction in the asylum backlog. For decades, the U.S. has admitted both refugees and asylum seekers and can continue to do it.

The U.S. refugee resettlement program reflects the United States’ highest values and aspirations to compassion, generosity, and leadership. When we resettle refugees and support our allies in refugee hosting countries we are helping to keep the U.S. safe.
Failing to do our part to alleviate this global crisis undermines our leadership, diplomacy, and national security. Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to working with you and your Administration on this critical issue.

Sincerely,

 

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Foreign Affairs, Government, Immigration

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