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Pulling Up America’s Welcome Mat: Editorial Boards Slam Trump Administration’s Retreat from Our History as a Welcoming Nation

 

The Move to Halt Refugees is Un-American

 

Leading editorial boards and observers nationwide are rebuking the Trump administration for their un-American and deeply damaging decision to slash refugee levels to only 18,000 for next year – the lowest number in history at a time when the need for refugee resettlement is at historic highs worldwide.

Below are key editorials and excerpts slamming the decision:  

In “Trump Tears Up the Welcome Mat” The New York Times editorial board discusses the unwelcoming nature that Trump and his administration have created for refugees seeking protection:

This is the administration’s latest message to anyone dreaming of a freer life in America: that they should just stay away. The Trump administration has systematically acted to bar as many refugees and asylum seekers as possible, virtually from its first day, supplanting America’s traditional welcome to the world’s desperate people with a spirit of xenophobia and bigotry.

Led by Stephen Miller, a zealot who has planted lieutenants throughout the government, the Trump White House has made its anti-immigration campaign something akin to a crusade, with “the wall” along the Mexican border as its symbol.

In “Trump is making America meek, churlish and inhospitable” The Washington Post editorial board continues on the same drumbeat:

Gratuitously, he is also, in effect, inviting communities to turn their backs on the world’s most vulnerable and desperate. In announcing that it would slash refugee admissions, the administration also said Mr. Trump had issued an executive order requiring that states and localities consent, in writing, to the resettlements of people already thoroughly vetted by the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. Whatever the impact of that order — and officials suggested it would be minimal — it’s a disgrace on its face.

… Ultimately, the refugee program is a barometer of America’s prestige. It stands as an example to other nations. As it contracts, so too does this country’s greatness.

The Dallas Morning News editorial board in “Trump is dismantling the system for legal refugees. Why?” discusses the legality of disassembling the refugee ban:

This is all the more tragic because we’re living through the greatest refugee crisis since World War II, with more than 70 million men, women and children forcibly displaced around the world. Historically, the U.S. has led the world in refugee resettlement. But in 2017, according to the Pew Research Center, for the first time, “Non-U.S. countries resettled more than twice as many refugees as the U.S.”

Why? Too often refugees who come to the U.S. in an orderly process are unfairly conflated with uncontrolled migration. Most asylum-seekers arriving at the southern border, for example, many of whom have legitimate claims, “are spontaneous unregulated arrivals,” said Hetfield, “people who put their lives at risk to get into the United States without documentation.”

But the millions of people resettled under the Refugee Act of 1980 are taking part in the “most legal form of migration that there is,” said Hetfield. “Nobody can even get on a plane until they’ve been interviewed multiple times and cleared by homeland security and all the intelligence agencies. It’s an entirely regulated and orderly process.”

Lastly Scott Martelle, an editorial writer for The Los Angeles Times argues  “Trump’s limits on refugee resettlement are cruel and counterproductive:”

In yet another set of draconian policy decisions by the Trump administration, the U.S. will accept no more than 18,000 refugees this coming year and, by adopting a new formula, will significantly reduce admissions for people fleeing persecution for reasons other than religion.

Count this as a win for the immigration hard-liners and a loss for the nation.

At the same time, the government announced that it will allow state and local jurisdictions to refuse to accept refugees for resettlement through the nonprofit organizations the government relies on for help. That’s an atrocious policy that will let local xenophobic politicians shut the door to people who the federal government says do not pose a risk to public safety.

…If there’s any consolation here it’s that once refugees get resettled, there are no limits on where they can move, which means the new policy primarily serves as yet another “you’re not welcome” sign.