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Responding to reports that the Trump administration is considering a new policy that would allow state and local jurisdictions to deny refugees to be resettled in their community, despite having been approved for resettlement in the United States, Ryan Mace, the grassroots advocacy and refugee specialist for Amnesty International USA, said: 

“This is yet another disgraceful needless policy proposal that serves only to spread hate and fear, instead of supporting a refugee program that works.  Refugees leave their homes because they have no other choice. Those who are resettled to the U.S. are looking to be a part of a safe community again.

“We should be welcoming refugees and preserving their basic human rights. Communities across the country have been speaking out on their desire to do more, not less. People looking to rebuild their lives in peace and safety should be celebrated as new neighbors. To continue to vilify them for political purposes is reprehensible. 

Background

Through the Longer Table Initiative, Amnesty International USA and its supporters have been working to welcome refugees through community sponsorship. Actions by the Longer Table Initiative have included writing letters, signing up communities to sponsor a refugee or a refugee family to live locally, incorporating refugee stories into a book club, and more. Amnesty International USA members have passed almost 60 “I Welcome” Refugees resolutions declaring support for refugees in cities and local communities.  Last year, over 270 local and state elected officials from 42 states expressed their support for resettling refugees in their communities in a bipartisan letter sent to President Trump. Similar efforts are already underway this year.