Denver, CO—Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains (LFSRM) is disheartened by the lowering of the Presidential Determination—or annual cap—set for the number of refugee admissions to the United States announced September 26th by the Administration.
The unprecedented new cap, set at just 18,000, reflects a continued trend of reversing the country’s longstanding global leadership in welcoming refugees. Down even further from the already historically low cap set for 2019, the number of refugee admissions to the United States in 2020 will be vastly disproportionate to the continuously growing need for protection. In Colorado and New Mexico, where LFSRM works with newcomers to provide a warm and long welcome, the reduction in the number of vulnerable refugees who will be able to arrive will harm families, businesses, and faith communities.
While security and economic concerns have been cited to justify repeated cuts to the refugee resettlement program, there is no evidence to support these claims. A May 2018 report, Economic and Fiscal Impact of Refugees in Colorado, found that refugees play a vital role in our economy and shared prosperity by generating $1.68 in economic activity for every $1 provided to them in assistance. Through the current vetting process, refugees admitted to the U.S. were already the most heavily vetted individuals to arrive on U.S. soil. Statements that imply that are larger number cannot be adequately vetted are not accurate, as the U.S. admitted 30,000 refugees in the past year. In addition, in an open letter from dozens of former national security officials and humanitarian leaders posted last summer, warns that the diminishment of U.S. refugee resettlement has lasting worldwide ramifications in terms of undermining U.S. diplomatic standing and further destabilizing already fragile global regions.
With this announcement, the Administration is abandoning those asking for protection and leaving them in danger. There are nearly 26 million refugees worldwide, and with this limit, only a fraction of one percent will have the opportunity for lasting protection and safety. This announcement will keep families separated by devastating conflict and negatively impact local communities who rely on refugee innovation and support to their economies.
“As a native Westerner, I know firsthand the spirit of welcome and innovation that drives Colorado and New Mexico to be some of the very best places for refugees to start their new lives in the United States,” said James Horan, President and CEO of LFSRM. “With this announcement I am deeply disappointed and saddened by the fact that families will remain separated and that communities, businesses and congregations in Colorado and New Mexico will be harmed. LFSRM calls on the Administration to honor America’s longstanding tradition of welcome by reversing course and increasing the number of refugees that will find safety on our shores.”