Washington, DC – Today, 88 bipartisan mayors from across the country sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging the Administration to rescind a September 26 executive order that revamps the U.S. resettlement system and could drastically reduce, if not entirely stop, the resettlement of refugees in cities. The mayors also urged Secretary Pompeo to return this year’s refugee admissions to previous annual levels. The Administration announced the same day that it is slashing the number of refugees who may enter the country in 2020 to 18,000–the lowest since the program began in 1980 and a reduction of nearly 80% from just a few years ago.
The letter states, “The Executive Order would fundamentally change the structure of the U.S. resettlement program by devolving key decisions primarily to the states and ultimately lead to a patchwork of conflicting policies running contrary to the purpose of a national resettlement program, It will also leave thousands of refugees, former refugees, and U.S. citizens without consistent and routine access to integration services and other supports. This is an unprecedented and harmful procedure, particularly given that resettlement agencies already consult regularly with state and local stakeholders regarding community needs.”
In addition to addressing the country’s strong tradition of providing safe haven, freedom and opportunity to refugees fleeing the world’s most dangerous and desperate situation, the letter also cites the positive impact refugees have on the cultural and economic prosperity of cities and the nation as a reason to increase the cap.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors has long advocated for policies that provide adequate support for refugees and refugee resettlement. The most recent policy adopted by USCM on this issue calls for admitting at least 100,000 refugees per year.
The full text of the letter is below and can be found here.