Millie’s Bookshelf Statement Re: Trump Administration’s Reported Consideration of Halting U.S. Refugee Admissions

July 18, 2019
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Courtney Pittam
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Communications Manager

Since the birth of our nation, the United States has served as a haven for immigrants and refugees, welcoming those fleeing conflict and persecution in search of a better life. We are therefore deeply saddened to learn that the Trump Administration is reportedly considering a halt to U.S. refugee admissions next year. We strongly urge the Administration to abandon this unprecedented policy shift and fulfill its moral obligation to the international community.

At Millie’s, we know firsthand the importance of standing with the most vulnerable among us. As global displacement reaches record highs, less than 1% of refugees worldwide are resettled each year. Those eligible for resettlement in the U.S. or one of the other 36 resettlement-eligible countries are widely considered to be the most vulnerable refugees - survivors of torture, female-headed households, or families that require specialized medical attention. 

This small fragment of displaced persons is the single most heavily-vetted group of immigrants that sets foot on U.S. soil. In fact, the resettlement process entails multiple background and biometric checks with the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and other intelligence agencies, taking an average of nearly two years to complete. Far from being a burden on the U.S. economy, many studies also document the economic benefits of refugee resettlement, with refugees contributing tens of billions of dollars in taxes each year, helping to revitalize traditionally marginalized communities by opening new businesses, and achieving notably high rates of home ownership.

"Refugees are neither a danger nor a burden - they are human beings, just like you and I," said Executive Director, Katie Howland. "We hope the Trump Administration will begin to view refugee admission as an opportunity to fulfill John Winthrop's hopeful vision of America as the city on the shining hill. Because the eyes of all people truly are upon us."

The U.S. must fulfill its moral obligation to provide refuge to the world’s most vulnerable populations or risk losing its place as a respected member of the international community. At Millie’s Bookshelf, we stand with refugees and the resettlement agencies working tirelessly to give them a better life. We urge the Trump Administration to reconsider this feckless proposal.