We’ve learned that President Trump is seriously considering shutting down the refugee resettlement program in Fiscal Year 2020 (beginning October 1, 2019). We need you, our community, to help us raise a strong and forceful response in opposition to this.
By law, the president is authorized by Congress to determine the appropriate number of refugees to be resettled annually, and theoretically, that number could be zero-- although no president has ever even considered such a possibility. The refugee admissions number has ranged from 230,000 under President Reagan to 70,000 under the Bush and Obama administrations. Currently, President Trump has set the ceiling at 30,000 for this year—a devastatingly low number already. It appears however, that President Trump is actively and seriously considering a refugee admissions ceiling of zero for next year.
This would effectively shutter the refugee resettlement program.
Such an outcome would be disastrous for the tens of thousands of refugees who have already been told they would be resettled in the US, the millions more who are waiting in camps with no possibility of returning home and our allies and global partners who are currently hosting them. It would also be devastating for our organization and other organizations like ours across the country whose work centers around the work of refugee resettlement.
There are more refugees in the world today than at any other point in history—over 25 million. The majority of these will eventually be able to return to their home countries with the help of the United Nations. A small number of those who fled to wealthier, more stable countries will be given the opportunity to remain in those countries permanently. But hundreds of thousands do not and will not ever have either of those options. They must either be resettled to a third country like the United States or die in a refugee camp. Over half are vulnerable women and children. Many are victims of torture. Some have serious and life-threatening illnesses that cannot be treated in the camps. All will lose their chance at a new life if the US shutters its resettlement program.
This possibility is catastrophic, but there is still a chance to stop it if we act now.
We need to let the Trump administration know that Americans from every corner of the country and every political and religious background believe in the importance of refugee resettlement and are ready to fight for it. All across the country, organizations just like ours are mobilizing and we need YOU to make sure Arkansas’ voice is loud in this outcry. You can do that in three ways:
1. Sign and share this petition. We’re working on setting up meetings with our elected officials next week to ask them to advocate to President Trump and the State Department on our behalf. We need as many signatures as possible from Arkansans to show them just how much this matters to their constituents.
2. Call our elected officials yourselves. Ask them to write a letter or put in a phone call to the White House or the State Department voicing their opposition to this proposal. We’re especially focusing on Senator Boozman (202-224-4843) and Governor Hutchinson (501-682-2345) since they have assured us that they believe in the importance of refugee resettlement in the past.
3. Set up a meeting with our members of Congress when they’re home next month for the August recess. Let’s fill up their calendars with meeting after meeting on this issue! To do that, contact their district offices as follows: Congressman Womack (479-464-0446), Senator Boozman (479- 725-0400) and Senator Cotton (479-751-0879).
A refugee admissions number of zero would be catastrophic for Canopy and the refugees we care about. It would mean that families whose names we already know-- families who have already been told they should get ready to travel—would be sentenced to remain in refugee camps for years to come. But we can still stop it. Take action today!