1. Letter
  2. Immigrants & Refugees

Quaker Lobby Urges Support for U.S. Resettlement Ahead of World Refugee Day

May 31, 2019


That the U.S. has historically been the largest destination for refugee resettlement is a testament to our nation's long, proud history as a beacon of hope for those who seek lives free from violence and oppression. This month, in honor of World Refugee Day on June 20, FCNL is participating in a letter-a-day campaign to hold the administration accountable to restoring the U.S. resettlement program.

June 4, 2019

Dear Members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives,

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) is dedicated to pursuing federal policies that uphold the inherent worth, contributions, and dignity of each person, as inspired by Quaker values. Since our founding in 1943 in the wake of the period’s greatest refugee crisis, FCNL has advocated for the protection of refugees alongside policies that reduce war, poverty, environmental degradation, and other driving forces of large-scale refugee crises. As we face the largest instance of forced displacement in global history, the biblical teaching to love our neighbor is not simply an ideal. It is a reality we are called to practice every day.

FCNL is asking Congress to do three things as we observe World Refugee Day on June 20:

  • Urge the administration to meet this year’s goal to resettle 30,000 refugees,
  • Advocate for resettling a minimum goal of 95,000 refugees in the next fiscal year (FY20), and
  • Support the GRACE Act and the NO BAN Act, legislation that restores our resettlement program and commitment to vulnerable populations without discrimination.

Our nation is abdicating its moral and legal obligation to welcome the stranger. There are upwards of 68 million people displaced worldwide. Our nation has historically been a leader in permanent refugee resettlement, yet we are now shamefully abdicating this responsibility. This fiscal year (FY19), the Trump administration set a record low goal of admitting only 30,000 refugees, diminishing our resettlement program by 75% over the last two years. Yet, more than halfway through this fiscal year the U.S. is only on track to resettle 22,000 refugees. We urge Congressional leadership and oversight to ensure the administration at the very least meets the determined admissions goal.

U.S. leadership in refugee resettlement and protection is essential to advancing global stability and humanitarian goals. Global refugee crises stem from deadly conflicts that will continue absent inclusive, political solutions. Congress must work to advance policies that remedy the root causes of forced migration while building peace and stability. Welcoming refugees to the U.S. who are unable to return home in the long term supports global stability. It also makes our communities at home stronger. Refugees contribute meaningfully to our economy and when given the opportunity to rebuild their lives, fully invest themselves in civil society. The U.S. has the capacity and responsibility to do more in the face of the worst refugee crisis in history. Passing the GRACE Act (H.R. 2146, S. 1088) will institute a minimum goal (95,000) of refugees resettled each fiscal year.

Discriminatory policies have no place in our immigration system or our commitment to vulnerable populations. The NO BAN Act (H.R. 2214, S. 1123) would end the practice of banning visas on discriminatory bases. The administration has issued bans prohibiting the resettlement of refugees, acceptance of asylum cases, and issuance of visas to Muslim-majority countries. We urge Congress revoke the executive branch’s ability to ban people from our nation based on religion or background.

On this World Refugee Day, we ask Congress to join us in this faithful call to be champions for our most vulnerable and advance refugee protection at home and around the world.

Sincerely,

Diane Randall
Executive Secretary
Friends Committee on National Legislation