Yesterday, the White House announced plans to admit only 18,000 refugees in the coming fiscal year, the lowest ceiling in U.S. history.
Globally, forced displacement is at an all-time high. The world’s 26 million refugees are sheltered in camps, temporary housing, and on city streets. Most have been waiting for as long as 20 years for the life-changing chance to live in a safe country. Every refugee is a victim of unspeakable persecution, and many hope to join siblings, parents, children, and spouses in the U.S.
Before 2016, the United States led the world’s humanitarian response to the refugee crisis. The President’s plan rejects 40-years of bipartisan precedent and a national tradition of welcoming persecuted people that predates our founding.
The International Institute of New England was founded 101 years ago by volunteers in Lowell who responded to rising anti-immigrant sentiment by making their community more welcoming. That same spirit still guides our mission.
It is our daily privilege to support 2,500 refugees and immigrants each year in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In FY20, IINE will offer critical services to the 7,000 refugees we resettled over the past decade and the many more immigrants we encounter every day. We stand ready to receive newly arrived refugees as well.
We oppose the White House’s plan to drastically lower refugee admissions because it condemns so many to endless suffering, and it is morally wrong for the wealthiest country in the world to turn away from the world’s most destitute.
In the coming weeks, the President will consult Congress before making a final determination of the refugee ceiling. We will lobby our leaders to return to traditional refugee admissions levels, and with your help, IINE will continue to educate policymakers and the public about the economic, moral, and cultural contribution we gain by the everlasting gift of finding a place at our table for others.