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Mar 28, 2019

Update--Help Refugees at Risk in the U.S.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) reacts this to President Trump’s veto of the “Resolution of Disapproval” passed by the U.S. Congress. The Resolution was passed to terminate the national emergency declared by President Trump on February 15, which sought to secure funding to build a physical barrier on the southern border. The President invoked national emergency powers after Republicans and Democrats alike, representing a wide swath of Americans, clearly rejected the President’s request for border wall funding.

Congress and the American people want common sense solutions, not walls. Even as President Trump is using extraordinary measures to override the will of the people and secure funding for his border wall, the President’s FY2020 budget does far too little to address the reasons people are fleeing in the first place. Levels of violence and insecurity in Central America rival those of war zones, but the $8.6 billion the President requested in FY2020 for a wall--that experts across the political spectrum have panned as ineffective--is almost 20 times more than the amount requested to address the root causes of violence and displacement in the region.

Overall, the President’s budget slashes humanitarian aid by 34 percent at a time when 14 million people are on the brink of famine in Yemen alone, Ebola is resurgent, and nearly 70 million people are displaced by conflict worldwide.

Congress has repeatedly rejected the President’s request for money to build a wall, including by rejecting the President’s National Emergency declaration. The crisis on which this ‘emergency’ is based is a manufactured one. The number of irregular border crossings is at their historic lowest and the chaos sown at the border - under the continuing policy of zero tolerance - is of the Administration’s own doing.

The true crisis is the instability in Central America that has forced people to flee for their lives, coupled with the administration’s systematic attacks on these same vulnerable individuals. In particular, violence in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador is amongst some of the worst in the world outside of an active war zone.

The Administration has slashed funding to address the violence in these countries, rejected asylum seekers at the border, detained thousands seeking asylum including children, and has threatened to return hundreds of thousands of Central Americans legally residing in the United States under Temporary Protected Status to the very nations from which people are fleeing.

Congress must act to reverse the systemic attacks on protections for vulnerable populations, refugee resettlement, and legal pathways for asylum seekers, to protect American values and American interests. In recovering America’s humanitarian leadership, Congress must override the President’s veto, restore funding to address violence and insecurity in Central America, vote to prevent the deportation of those with Temporary Protected Status, and uphold the rights of people seeking asylum”

Links:

Feb 13, 2019

Help Protect Asylum Seekers--Update

For his annual State of the Union address, President Trump chose the theme "American Greatness," but he failed to highlight what truly makes America great: our legacy of supporting people affected by violence and persecution here and around the world. Instead, President Trump distorted the record on people seeking asylum at the border. Notably absent from the President’s remarks were the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the historic scale of forced displacement globally.

Let’s set the record straight.

Correcting the Record: The U.S. Southern Border

It comes as no surprise that the President used his State of the Union speech to demand funding for the border wall under the guise of a manufactured ‘crisis’. In reality, the number of irregular border crossings, as reflected in Customs and Border Patrol’s arrest statistics, are the lowest they’ve been in decades. The real crisis is the instability in Central America which is forcing people to flee for their lives, coupled with the administration’s systematic attacks on these same vulnerable individuals. Rather than offering safe haven, the U.S. administration continues to erode safe pathways by blocking people from claiming asylum, separating families as part of its ‘zero tolerance’ effort, and forcibly returning asylum seekers to Mexico as part of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy.

Seeking asylum is legal. Turning asylum seekers away is not. The “Remain in Mexico” policy robs asylum seekers of their due process rights, including access to legal counsel, and will expose thousands of families and children to unsafe conditions. Therefore, the IRC calls on the U.S. Administration to rescind this cruel and irresponsible policy, follow domestic and international law, and uphold America’s humanitarian commitments.

A True Legacy of Greatness: Welcoming Refugees in the U.S

Finally, President Trump neglected to address the historic global refugee crisis. Right now, over 68.5 million people are forcibly displaced from their homes, including over 25 million refugees who have fled their countries in search of safety. These numbers are the highest since World War II. Although he invoked the memory of the horrors of the Holocaust, the president failed to acknowledge the countless lives that could have been saved had Jewish refugees not been turned away by the United States. The president overlooked how his administration’s own refugee policies are harming Iraqis and Afghans who have fought alongside American troops.

America’s legacy of greatness as a safe haven for refugees is in jeopardy. In September 2018, the administration set the lowest refugee admissions since the resettlement program was established. To make matters worse, based on the current pace of refugee admissions, it is unlikely that even this extremely low ceiling will be met. This simply is not enough. The United States must never abandon its proud legacy of offering stability to people fleeing war and oppression. 

Links:

Feb 13, 2019

Update--Help Families Fleeing Crisis Rebuild

For his annual State of the Union address, President Trump chose the theme "American Greatness," but he failed to highlight what truly makes America great: our legacy of supporting people affected by violence and persecution here and around the world. Instead, President Trump distorted the record on people seeking asylum at the border. Notably absent from the President’s remarks were the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the historic scale of forced displacement globally.

Let’s set the record straight.

Correcting the Record: The U.S. Southern Border

It comes as no surprise that the President used his State of the Union speech to demand funding for the border wall under the guise of a manufactured ‘crisis’. In reality, the number of irregular border crossings, as reflected in Customs and Border Patrol’s arrest statistics, are the lowest they’ve been in decades. The real crisis is the instability in Central America which is forcing people to flee for their lives, coupled with the administration’s systematic attacks on these same vulnerable individuals. Rather than offering safe haven, the U.S. administration continues to erode safe pathways by blocking people from claiming asylum, separating families as part of its ‘zero tolerance’ effort, and forcibly returning asylum seekers to Mexico as part of the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy.

Seeking asylum is legal. Turning asylum seekers away is not. The “Remain in Mexico” policy robs asylum seekers of their due process rights, including access to legal counsel, and will expose thousands of families and children to unsafe conditions. Therefore, the IRC calls on the U.S. Administration to rescind this cruel and irresponsible policy, follow domestic and international law, and uphold America’s humanitarian commitments.

A True Legacy of Greatness: Welcoming Refugees in the U.S

Finally, President Trump neglected to address the historic global refugee crisis. Right now, over 68.5 million people are forcibly displaced from their homes, including over 25 million refugees who have fled their countries in search of safety. These numbers are the highest since World War II. Although he invoked the memory of the horrors of the Holocaust, the president failed to acknowledge the countless lives that could have been saved had Jewish refugees not been turned away by the United States. The president overlooked how his administration’s own refugee policies are harming Iraqis and Afghans who have fought alongside American troops.

America’s legacy of greatness as a safe haven for refugees is in jeopardy. In September 2018, the administration set the lowest refugee admissions since the resettlement program was established. To make matters worse, based on the current pace of refugee admissions, it is unlikely that even this extremely low ceiling will be met. This simply is not enough. The United States must never abandon its proud legacy of offering stability to people fleeing war and oppression. 

Links:

 
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