“In countless ways, America depends on new Americans.”
Agencies oppose Trump administration plans to slash refugee resettlement and legal immigration to the U.S.
By: Ascentria Care Alliance and the International Institute of New England
Ascentria Care Alliance, one of the largest human service nonprofits in New England, and the International Institute of New England, the region’s oldest provider of immigrant and refugee services, issue this joint statement in opposition to federal policies announced that would slash the number of refugees admitted to the US:
“The Trump administration announced new policies that, in effect, declare that the Statue of Liberty no longer symbolizes our nation’s welcoming spirit.
“The administration plans to set the new yearly refugee admissions goal at 18,000, a record low. And a new executive order would allow state and local officials to stop resettlement in their communities. They seemingly want to dismantle our nation’s resettlement programs.
“Destroying the U.S. Refugee Administration Program would mean that we abandon thousands of refugees who have already cleared strict U.S. screening and vetting processes. They include families with small children and survivors of genocide, as well as thousands who have been persecuted for their political or religious beliefs. Nearly 40,000 refugees are already approved and at various stages in the process. To reject them, after they have already waited for years to resettle here, would be a betrayal of our values and our humanitarian tradition.
“We don’t believe the policies enacted this week represent majority opinion in the U.S. because they do not reflect our values. Most Americans don’t want to extinguish our legacy as a safe haven. They realize, gratefully, that their own ancestors once immigrated or fled to the U.S.
“In countless ways, America depends on new Americans. We need refugees and immigrants in greater numbers if our economy is going to continue to grow and generate the wealth needed to finance defense, the national debt, Social Security, and other commitments. So not only would it be un-American to stop being ‘a nation of immigrants,’ it would be anti-American because it would be contrary to our national interests.
“Especially in New England, new Americans help drive the economy, enhance the culture, and become part of the fabric of our local communities. In this region – with the highest rate of college-educated adult workers in the nation – employers are struggling to fill jobs that require high skills and low skills. Industries vital to this region’s growth – such as construction, healthcare, hospitality — cannot meet their workforce needs with only native-born Americans.
“Because Ascentria Care Alliance and the International Institute of New England help immigrants and refugees resettle and obtain good jobs, we know firsthand how quickly they start to achieve independence after arriving in the U.S. It isn’t long before newcomers become valued employees in US companies, manufacturers of US goods, founders of US businesses, and creators of jobs in the US. Refugees rent and then purchase US homes, learn in US schools, join the US armed forces, all while paying municipal, state, and federal taxes.
“The truth is, our country needs refugees as much as they need us.
“We will continue to work with other organizations and individuals to educate and advocate for a return to the policy of the U.S. welcoming new Americans – a policy reflected in our national motto, E pluribus unum, ‘out of many, one.’ In the great tradition of American optimism, we believe that a more humane and welcoming policy will yet again prevail.”