Four Decades of Presidential Leadership on Refugee Protection So Far – United States of America


President’s Day 2020

For four decades, American presidents have reinforced the American humanitarian tradition of welcoming refugees. Today, this heritage is in danger. At a time when public support for welcoming refugees is growing and global resettlement needs far exceed available slots, it is imperative that the United States return refugee resettlement to historic levels.

Presidents have long understood that resettlement not only saves lives; it’s also good for America. For nearly half a century, the United States has provided a safe haven for people fleeing persecution and violence around the world through the United States Refugee Admissions Program. At home, refugees are revitalizing cities and filling critical labor market gaps in rural communities. Overseas, refugee resettlement offers concrete support to critical allies who host the vast majority of refugees worldwide.

Today, US support for refugee resettlement has never been higher. A recent public opinion poll by Pew confirms the commitment to welcoming refugees we see in communities across the country: 73% of Americans think welcoming refugees fleeing war and violence is a goal significant, up from 61% in 2016. The shift was driven in large part by an increase in support from Republicans, the majority of whom — 58% — support resettling U.S. refugees, up 18% from 2016.

Despite the immense global need and resounding public support for refugee resettlement, the Trump administration is not only underutilizing this program, but dismantling it. Measures such as reducing the annual cap for refugee admissions to unprecedented levels and closing the door to those facing the greatest threats further alienate the resettlement program from the system established by bipartisan law. Refugees Act 1980, which established a regular and predictable process for the admission of refugees. .

Congress must act. Co-sponsor the GRACE Act today.

The Guaranteed Refugee Admissions Ceiling Enhancement Act, known as the GRACE Act, will ensure that the United States aims to welcome at least 95,000 refugees annually. Just as Congress established the refugee admissions program in 1980 to ensure that annual resettlement was consistent with global needs and U.S. interests, Congress must once again step in to restore refugee admissions to levels historical. In doing so, the GRACE Act would preserve and strengthen our ability to continue the bipartisan tradition of welcoming refugees.

Kevin E. Boling