Slash refugee resettlement program to shreds
Last night the Trump administration announced the lowest target for refugees to be resettled in America since the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980. In response, Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, had this to say:
Rescuing and resettling refugees is foundational to the American experiment. Welcoming those fleeing violence and persecution, who escape for their lives and vote with their feet is one of our core values and traditions.
No, we haven’t always lived up to our ideals, especially in the context of providing asylum to refugees in our region. But since World War II, and against a profound regret for turning away Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, we opened our arms to millions: to displaced persons from Europe; to Hungarian and Czech refugees from Soviet crackdowns; to Cubans fleeing Castro’s dictatorship; to Vietnamese, Lao and Cambodian refugees escaping the wars and killing fields of Southeast Asia; to Jews, Christians and other persecuted minorities leaving the Former Soviet Union, to Ethiopians, Eritreans and Somalis fleeing strife in the Horn of Africa, to the Congolese, the Lost Boys from Sudan and other Africans leaving conflict and persecution, to Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians and others escaping violence in their countries.
Moreover, once refugees arrive in America, a remarkable private-public partnership encourages refugees to navigate their new home and enables receiving communities to welcome them, injecting life into the places refugees settle. From hard working laborers to small business owners to recertified professionals to the kids who attend universities and fulfill their parents’ dreams, refugee families contribute to their new country and make us better in the process of doing so.
This is the noble tradition that is being trashed by an administration driven by dark motives and white grievance. Trump, Miller and their accomplices may get away with their evil deeds for four years, but they will pay the price. Their cruelty has forced Americans to think about refugees and immigrants more seriously than they might have, and a strong majority have come down in favor of the American tradition of welcome, not the Trumpian embrace of racism.
Fortunately for us and for our tradition of welcoming refugees, Trump and Miller’s days in charge are numbered. May the next administration quickly fulfill their promise to welcome refugees in a fair, workable and humane system that works for the families seeking safety and the communities that give them a chance to live peacefully.