126 Members of Congress Demand Protection for People Fleeing Violence and Persecution, Increase in Refugee Admissions

October 8, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Representatives Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Don Beyer (VA-08), David Cicilline (RI-01), and Bill Pascrell, Jr. (NJ-09) led 122 of their colleagues in writing to President Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo rebuking their decision to set Fiscal Year 2021 refugee admissions at just 15,000, a further drop from the already historically low figure set by the Administration last year. The Members demand the Administration reverse its decision, consult with Congress as mandated by law, and increase the number to at least 110,000 to align with the United States’ longstanding tradition of welcoming those in need of refuge.

“Refugee resettlement has been a cornerstone of American policy for decades,” said Congresswoman Schakowsky. “My district has benefitted tremendously from the refugees who have made the Chicago-area their home and who have received assistance from our refugee resettlement offices. This is a truly sad moment in American history and will not only hurt those who have fled violence and persecution in search of safe haven, but will also deprive our country from the New Americans who contribute so much to our communities, economy, and democracy.”

“We are a nation of immigrants,” said Congressman Cicilline. “My home state of Rhode Island is home to refugees from all over the world who fled violence, famine, and war to come to America to build a better life for themselves and their families. We are better for it and it has made our state a stronger and more vibrant place to live and work. President Trump and Secretary Pompeo’s decision to cut refugee admissions by nearly ninety percent is an outrage. This undermines the ideals of our nation, welcoming those who are most in need, and will lead to a catastrophic loss of human life.” 

The Members write:

“We are outraged over reports that the Administration intends to cut refugee admissions to 15,000 for Fiscal Year 2021 after failing to fulfill its statutory obligation to consult with Congress by September 30th. This decision is unconscionable in a world where nearly one person is forcibly displaced from their home every two seconds. We call on you to reverse your decision and increase the Presidential Determination to at least 110,000 for FY 2021.”

“Your Administration’s Fiscal Year 2020 Presidential Determination (PD) of 18,000 was already the lowest number ever set by the U.S. This comes after a previous record low of 30,000 for Fiscal Year 2019. These are gross failures of our country’s moral and diplomatic leadership, scorned across the world. Cutting refugee admissions to 15,000 would mark yet another unprecedented abdication of leadership.”

“Your decision to cut the PD for Fiscal Year 2021 runs counter to the longstanding, bipartisan tradition of welcoming those in need of refuge. We reiterate our call for you to increase the Presidential Determination for Refugee Admissions to at least 110,000 without delay. Our future as a leader on the global stage depends on it.”

The letter is signed by Reps. Adams, Beatty, Blumenauer, Blunt Rochester, Bonamici, Brown, Brownley, Bustos, Cárdenas, Carson, Casten, Castro, Chu, Cisneros, Clarke, Cleaver, Cohen, Connolly, Correa, Costa, Courtney, Crow, Danny K. Davis, Dean, DeGette, DeLauro, Demings, DeSaulnier, Deutch, Dingell, Doggett, Engel, Escobar, Espaillat, Evans, Foster, Frankel, Gallego, Slyvia R. Garcia, Al Green, Grijalva, Haaland, Hastings, Hayes, Higgins, Jayapal, Jeffries, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr., Kaptur, Kelly, Kennedy, Khanna, Kildee, Kirkpatrick, Krishnamoorthi, Langevin, Rick Larsen, John B. Larson, Barbara Lee,  Andy Levin, Lieu, Lowenthal, Lynch, Malinowski, Maloney, Matsui, McCollum, McEachin, McGovern, McNerney, Meeks, Meng, Moulton, Mucarsel-Powell, Napolitano, Neguse, Norcross, Norton, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pallone, Payne, Pocan, Porter, Pressley, Price, Quigley, Raskin, Kathleen M. Rice, Richmond, Rush, Sánchez, Sarbanes, Schiff, Schneider, Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, Sewell, Sherman, Sires, Adam Smith, Speier, Suozzi, Takano, Titus, Tlaib, Tonko, Torres, Vargas, Vela, Velázquez, Visclosky, Wasserman Schultz, Watson Coleman, Welch, Wexton, Wilson, and Yarmuth.