Dear President Trump and Members of Congress:
We, the undersigned business leaders, write to express our support for the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Refugees are people with families, jobs, skills, and dreams, who are persecuted because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, and forced to flee their homes. Resettlement is the last resort for refugees who cannot return to their homes and cannot rebuild their lives in a nearby country. The United States is one of 28 resettlement countries, and has proudly resettled Jewish refugees during World War II, Vietnamese refugees in the 1980s, and more recently refugees from the Sudan, Burma / Myanmar, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
The humanitarian case for resettling refugees is strong, and by demonstrating international leadership the United States has been able to procure additional support for refugees around the world. The vast majority of the world’s refugees live in countries that neighbor the countries that they have fled. These refugee-hosting countries require infrastructure support and international commitments to resettlement in order to keep their doors open. It is in the United States’ best interest, as we seek regional stability in the Middle East and elsewhere, to help these countries both by providing humanitarian aid and resettling some of the refugees they are hosting.
Opponents of refugee resettlement have been making their voices heard, arguing that refugees are a burden and consume scarce resources. As business leaders, we know that, in fact, refugees possess a strong work ethic and are entrepreneurs, job creators, employees and consumers. We have seen firsthand that refugees are diligent, reliable workers. Grateful for the opportunity to live in safety and rebuild their lives, refugees are valuable parts of our workforce and contribute a great deal to our businesses and communities. After refugees undergo security checks by the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and National Counter Terrorism Center, they arrive in the United States immediately eligible and eager to work. After one year, refugees qualify for legal permanent resident status, and after five years of being in the United States they can apply for citizenship.
The economic argument for accepting these refugees is clear-cut. Refugees resettled in the United States pay taxes, open businesses, buy homes, and utilize their expertise, skills, inventive ideas and resilience to contribute to American communities. They also become proud American citizens and voters, with many being elected to public office. Studies show that refugees contribute more value to the economy than the initial investment in their resettlement. Increasingly, refugees have been shown to fill important gaps in our labor market and to help revitalize rural economies. Resettled refugees provide valuable work experience and training that can be utilized by businesses, filling workforce needs and diversifying our workplaces.
We urge the Administration and Congress to affirm the importance of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, and to provide support for refugees and the communities that welcome them. Refugee resettlement provides Americans an opportunity to live up to our best values, helps our fellow human beings escape immediate peril, and keeps our economy growing and strong. Please affirm this American legacy of welcome and resilience.
Mohamed Ali Ahmed, Manager of Benadir Properties Co., Benadir Region, Somalia Veronica Alexander, MD, Tulane Triple Board Program, New Orleans, LADan Bertholomey, K & S Building Supply, Wholesale and Retail Building Materials, Cedar Crest, NMLaura Cattabriga, President & CEO of Core Orthopedics, Inc.Larissa Chuprina, PhD, ESL and Culture Coach, Kirkland, WAVanessa A. Gonzalez, Esq., The Law Office of Vanessa A. Gonzalez, PLLC, Wilmington, NCWesley Harrell, Director of Engagement at Siloam Health, Nashville and Middle TennesseeDina Janis, Dorset Theatre Festival Arts Organization, Dorset, VTSusan J. Levy, Esq., Levy & Pruett, Decatur, GAMr. Alagie Njie, Independent, HospitalityJames Paison, Symmetry Wellness VT, Brandon, VTMary Pierce, Brazzil ArtsKatherine Redford, Pirouette Dance Company, Apex, NCTerri Reynolds, Owner and Operator of My PassionationJeffrey Swiggett , VR Business Sales, New Haven, CTZenobia Taylor-Weiss, CEO of Cellar Door Preserves, Grand Rapids, MI