Six Things At Stake As Trump Makes This Life or Death Decision
By Naureen Shah, Senior Director of Campaigns, Amnesty International USA
President Trump is on the cusp of making another life-or-death decision — this one affecting tens of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable people. As early as Monday, the White House will announce a ceiling on how many refugees the U.S. can admit in 2018.
Who are refugees? They’re people like you and me, only they’ve lost everything. Some literally ran for their lives, escaping death threats from armed groups like the one calling itself the Islamic State.
Time is running out for these people, and they urgently need your help.
· Call 1–855–514–0802 and tell your member of Congress to urge Trump to allow 75,000 refugees to come to the U.S. next year. This is urgent. President Trump is required by law to consult with Congress before he makes his decision. Your member of Congress can pressure Trump to do the right thing.
· You can also send a message directly to President Trump: Don’t Ban Refugees from the U.S.
We are bracing for the White House to announce the lowest number ever, if figures like Stephen Miller — reportedly the architect of the refugee and Muslim ban — call the shots. Here’s what is at stake if he prevails:
1. Orphaned children, people in urgent need of medical help, survivors of rape and torture — tens of thousands could be left stranded
The refugees who would be blocked are among the most vulnerable. They’re being resettled because they need special protection or services, and their safety can’t be guaranteed in the countries that first received them (countries of “first refuge,” which are often neighboring or nearby countries). Examples include women and children- people who urgently need medical help, survivors of rape and torture, and people persecuted for their sexuality or gender.
2. Those Who Aided the U.S. Will Be “Left Behind”
Included among those who will be blocked under a low admissions ceiling are those whose safety the U.S. said it would guarantee because they assisted U.S. troops, intelligence services, and diplomats. For example, a staggering 60,000 Iraqis with P2 visas await admission. If they continue to be admitted at current rates and under the current ceiling of 50,000, it will take at least 17 years just to clear the current backlog.
3. Who We Are
The U.S. refugee program has long enjoyed bipartisan support. Former President George H.W. Bush admitted more than 100,000 refugees during every year of his presidency. President Reagan, who set a ceiling of 140,000 refugees in his peak year, said this:
“We shall continue America’s tradition as a land that welcomes peoples from other countries. We shall also, with other countries, continue to share in the responsibility of welcoming and resettling those who flee oppression.”
4. How The Rest of the World Responds to Refugees
U.S. leadership matters: Last year, anchored by U.S. commitments, wealthy nations agreed to double global resettlement slots, with 36 nations participating in resettlement, many for the first time. Now, with the U.S. in retreat, we’ve seen a nearly 60% decline in global refugee resettlement compared to this time last year.
More than half of the world’s 22.5 million refugees are hosted by just 10 countries — all in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, taking refugees in because they are neighbors to crisis. As Amnesty International’s Secretary-General put it:
“That situation is inherently unsustainable, exposing the millions fleeing war and persecution in countries like Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq to intolerable misery and suffering.”
5. Letting the Fear-Mongers Win
It is particularly tragic that as we witness the world’s largest refugee crisis since World War II — and read grisly headlines like those coming out of Myanmar right now — U.S. political figures are turning refugees into villains.
The truth is that 51% of all refugees are children; and 86% of all refugees are hosted by developing countries. The vetting process in the United States for refugees is already lengthy, extremely detailed, and very safe, and it takes roughly eighteen months to two years. Refugees are extremely well-vetted as part of the U.S. process of resettlement, and they will not be admitted until all security screenings have been successfully completed.
6. Your Voice
Most people are like you. When we polled people across 27 countries, four out of five people said “Yes, we welcome refugees.”
It’s time for your voice to be heard. Text Amnesty to 21333 or call 1–855–514–0802 and tell your member of Congress to urge Trump to authorize resettlement of at least 75,000 refugees next year.
This is urgent. President Trump is required by law to consult with Congress before he makes his decision. Your member of Congress can pressure Trump to do the right thing.
Can you do more? Tell your local city council to support refugees. Learn how here.