Policy Experts, Refugees, and Religious Leaders Call on President Trump to Raise Refugee Cap

Refugee Council USA
September 18, 2018

Policy Experts, Refugees, and Religious Leaders Call on President Trump to Raise Refugee Cap

Washington, D.C. – In light of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement that the U.S plans to admit no more than 30,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2019, policy experts, refugees, and faith leaders today discussed the harmful long-term consequences of this decision on American communities, refugees, and global stability:

Scott Cooper, Director of National Security Outreach, Human Rights First

“America’s standing in the world is deteriorating and diminishing. We are falsely painting refugees as a threat, and they are not. We’ve missed an opportunity and strategically, looking at our allies and position in the world, we are going to be harmed by this decision.”

Wilson Kubwayo, Resettled Refugee, Refugee Center Online

“Nobody wants to be a refugee. It is because of circumstances that we find ourselves here. Refugees are looking for a safer way to build new lives. To understand that, it requires empathy and love. As a former refugee my heart yearns for harmony, opportunity, and unity. This wish extends to the hundreds of thousands of refugees across the world who are hoping to rebuild their lives. Today I’m able to help other people because of this country and the extended hands offered to me.”

Jen Smyers, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Church World Service

“This announcement–together with the administration’s multiple executive orders banning refugees for months at a time and subsequent policy decisions that have diverted resources, slowed processes, and added unnecessary requirements and burdens to an already secure system–has really made it impossible for refugees to arrive and is frankly an embarrassment to the values that we espouse as this great country. America is better than this. We know that all across the country churches, volunteers and communities are opening their doors to refugees, but they’re being told by this administration that they can’t fill their call to compassion and welcome.”

Bishop Michael Rinehart, Chair, LIRS Board of Directors

“In the Abrahamic traditions there is an imperative to care for the immigrant, the sojourner, those who cannot live where they have been living, for whatever reason, they cannot go home…the central story of the Hebrew bible is the Exodus. This is near and dear to our hearts. We are deeply disappointed to see the decline of refugee arrivals.”


The new all-time low Presidential Determination admitting, at most, 30,000 refugees in fiscal year 2019 is part of the Administration’s systematic dismantling of the resettlement program.

America can and should do better. Refugee resettlement is a strong bipartisan tradition that reflects American values. The United States should commit to welcoming at least 75,000 refugees in FY 2019.  We urge Congress to press the administration to restore reasonable refugee admission goals.

For a copy of the recording or to speak to any of today’s panelists contact Danielle Grigsby dgrigsby@rcusa.org