Today, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), led by USCM President and Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin and USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran, sent a letter to President Trump urging him to increase, not decrease, refugee admission levels in 2019. The most recent policy adopted by USCM on this issue calls for admitting at least 100,000 refugees per year.
This year, the Trump Administration restricted the flow of refugees into the U.S. to 45,000 – the lowest since the program began in 1980. There have been reports that some in the Administration are suggesting a cap of 25,000 refugees in 2019. This would represent a cut of more than 40 percent below 2018 admission levels and more than 75 percent below 2017 levels. The Administration must make a final determination by October 1, the start of the fiscal year.
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 as a reason to increase the cap.
The letter states: “Reducing the number of refugees who come to our nation each year diminishes us as a country and negatively affects our communities. It means that we are not providing access to the American dream to well-vetted and deserving people from throughout the world. It means that employers may not be able to hire the refugee workers they have counted on in the past. It means that our cities may not be newly invigorated by the economic and cultural contributions that refugees make to them.”
The full text of the letter can be found here.