361 local and state elected officials from 46 states expressed their strong support for resettling refugees in their communities in a bipartisan letter sent to President Trump. The letter, supported by Amnesty International, HIAS, the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), urges the President to restore the number of refugee admissions to its historical average and resettle at least 95,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2020.
The letter was signed by Governors Jay Inslee of Washington and Tim Walz of Minnesota. They were joined by 64 Mayors, including Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles, Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago, Mayor Tim Mahoney of Fargo, Mayor David Briley of Nashville, as well as Mayors Steve Adler of Austin, Eric Johnson of Dallas, and Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio.
Among the signatories were also city council members, state legislators, and other state and local elected leaders from all levels of elected government, who point to the many benefits, economic and otherwise, that refugees bring to their communities. They include elected officials from nearly every state in the United States that resettle refugees, whose support for the resettlement program sharply contrasts with the President’s recent efforts to allow governors and other local representatives to veto resettlement in their city or state.
Every year, the President determines the number of refugees who should be resettled in the upcoming fiscal year, signaling the United States’ commitment to protect those fleeing violence and persecution. Last year, President Trump lowered the refugee admissions goal to an unprecedented 30,000, marking the lowest refugee cap since the Refugee Act was enacted in 1980. Some in the Administration are even advocating for zero admissions in the coming fiscal year.
By signing this letter, these elected officials have joined together to voice their commitment to welcoming refugees in their communities and continuing the United States’ longstanding leadership in refugee resettlement.
The letter remains open for signatures. Elected officials at the state or local level who wish to demonstrate their communities’ support for refugees and the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, can sign on here.