Bennet, DeGette, Perlmutter, Crow, Neguse Call on Administration to Reverse Decision to Drastically Cut the Number of Refugees Admitted to U.S.

Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and U.S. Representatives Diana DeGette (C0-1), Ed Perlmutter (CO-7), Jason Crow (CO-6), and Joe Neguse (CO-2) called on the Trump Administration to reverse its decision to drastically cut the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the U.S. in the coming year. Yesterday, the Trump Administration announced the number of refugee resettlements for Fiscal Year 2020 would be cut to 18,000 individuals, down nearly half from the administration’s previous cap of 30,000 and a fraction of the 85,000 cap in 2016.

In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the lawmakers expressed their concern for the drastic cut given the record-high level of displacement around the globe and our nation’s proud history of welcoming those fleeing persecution.

“Each day, an estimated 44,000 people are forcibly displaced from their homes due to violence, persecution, or war. More than half of those individuals are children. The U.S. has a long history of resettling refugees who have fled persecution due to their religion, race, nationality, political opinion or social group,” wrote the lawmakers in the letter.

The lawmakers also cite the economic benefits of refugee resettlement to Colorado.

“Since 2000, almost 30,000 refugees have settled in Colorado from all over the world. Refugees contribute to Colorado’s economy through employment in a diverse array of essential and burgeoning industries. They promote Colorado’s economic vibrancy and support jobs and income for both refugees and non-refugees,” wrote the lawmakers

“We urge you to increase refugee resettlements for FY2020 to give individuals fleeing all forms persecution or violence an opportunity to thrive in Colorado’s communities,” the letter continues.

The text of the letter can be found HERE and below.

Dear Secretary Pompeo:

We write to encourage you to reverse the Administration’s recent announcement to reduce the cap on refugee resettlements from 30,000 to 18,000 individuals for fiscal year 2020 (FY2020). At a time when we are facing record-high levels of displacement, the United States should continue to accept refugees into communities that are apt to welcome them. In addition, we respectfully request that you provide us with changes in the criterion for admission. Refugees are an engine of prosperity and innovation that strengthen communities in Colorado and the United States.

Each day, an estimated 44,000 people are forcibly displaced from their homes due to violence, persecution, or war. More than half of those individuals are children. The U.S. has a long history of resettling refugees who have fled persecution due to their religion, race, nationality, political opinion or social group. In 1980, our nation established the United States Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) to allow individuals to seek refuge in the United States. In 2018, the United States decreased the number of refugee resettlements to 30,000 and as of August 31, 2019, the United States has admitted 28,100 refugees.

Since 2000, almost 30,000 refugees have settled in Colorado from all over the world. Refugees contribute to Colorado’s economy through employment in a diverse array of essential and burgeoning industries. They promote Colorado’s economic vibrancy and support jobs and income for both refugees and non-refugees. Through each dollar a refugee earns, over $25 is generated in industry activity according to the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS). From 2007 to 2017, refugees’ economic activity, including entrepreneurship, generated over $611 million in new salaries and wages for Colorado workers. During this time period earned income from jobs attained by these refugees generated an additional 13,200 jobs throughout Colorado.

Refugee workers fill critical gaps left by labor shortages in key industries in Colorado including manufacturing, hospitality, and food preparation. Currently, many of our employers in growing industries are in dire need of new workers to sustain the growth of their businesses and – by extension, Colorado’s economy. Reducing or eliminating refugee resettlements will adversely affect important industries in our state, hinder economic growth and drive up consumer costs.

We urge you to increase refugee resettlements for FY2020 to give individuals fleeing all forms persecution or violence an opportunity to thrive in Colorado’s communities.

Sincerely,

 

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