FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMonday, September 17, 2018
Contact: Lisa Sherman-Nikolaus | 646.584.5281 | Lisa@tnimmigrant.orgTrump Administration Slashes Refugee Resettlement to Unprecedented LowTIRRC Calls on Congress to Defend the Resettlement Program
NASHVILLE - This afternoon, the Trump administration announced a reduction of refugee arrivals to a historic low of 30,000 for the 2019 fiscal year, which begins October 1. Under the Trump administration, our refugee resettlement program has been decimated, even as 25.4 million refugees are in need of protection around the world--the highest number in recorded history.
Instead of serving as a beacon of hope for people fleeing persecution and violence, U.S. resettlement has plummeted to all-time lows. The latest dramatic cut follows the previous historic low for fiscal year 2018 of 45,0000, of which we will have only resettled just over 20,000 refugees by October 1st. With this latest announcement the president has broken our country's promise to tens of thousands of refugees waiting for a chance to rebuild their lives or reunite with family members in safety.
Resettlement is reserved only for the most vulnerable refugees who cannot return to their homes and do not have safety in the places where they have fled. Despite the facts that refugees already face the most rigorous security vetting and medical screening process of any traveler to the United States, the administration has continued to take actions to keep the resettlement numbers dismally low-- imposing a series of refugee bans that have separated families, abandoned refugees in unsafe situations, and jeopardized our national security and foreign policy goals.
The following is a quote from Stephanie Teatro, Co-Executive Director at the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC):
"This is a profoundly shameful moment for our country and our long history of welcoming refugees. In the midst of the largest displacement of people in recorded history, this announcement sends a clear and dangerous message to the world about what kind of country we are becoming.
Dramatically reducing the number of refugees resettled this year will fundamentally dismantle our nation's infrastructure to welcome and support people fleeing persecution and violence. When the administration lowered the resettlement numbers last year, one of Nashville's resettlement agencies, World Relief, was forced to close their doors after 30 years. It will take decades to rebuild our refugee resettlement program and restore our nation's reputation.
From gutting our nation's asylum system to terminating the TPS program, today's decision is the latest in the administration's relentless efforts to limit migration to this country and carry out mass deportations.
Congress must defend the lifesaving work of resettlement and demand the White House use the consultation process to welcome at least 75,0000 refugees."
Below is statement from Zozan Noman, TIRRC member:
"When we fled Iraq, we found hope and a second chance at life here in this country. We were welcomed with open arms, and we've been able to rebuild our lives with the safety and opportunity of the United States. The thought of other refugees not being able to come to America and find refuge is really saddening and deeply disturbing. Thousands of other refugees like me are looking towards America as a place of freedom, as a place to start over with their families and as a place to live in safety. All elected officials should take a stand against the terrible actions of this administration and call for welcoming at least 75,000 refugees. Lives are at risk and families are waiting to be reunited with their loved ones.”
TIRRC is a statewide, immigrant and refugee-led collaboration whose mission is to empower immigrants and refugees throughout Tennessee to develop a unified voice, defend their rights, and create an atmosphere in which they are recognized as positive contributors to the state. Since its founding in 2001, TIRRC has worked to develop immigrant leadership, build the capacity of its immigrant-led member organizations, help immigrant community members understand and engage in the civic process, and educate the public about policies that would better promote integration of new immigrants and facilitate their full participation in US society. In just a few years TIRRC has grown from a grassroots network of community leaders into one of the most diverse and effective coalitions of its kind, a model for emerging immigrant rights organizations in the Southeast and throughout the United States.