Senate Resolution to Support Refugee Resettlement (January 28, 2019)
Title: Recognizing January 27, 2019, as the anniversary of the first refugee and Muslim ban, and urging the President to demonstrate true leadership on refugee resettlement.
Whereas the world is in the midst of the worst global displacement crisis in history, with more than 25,400,000 refugees worldwide, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates;
Whereas, in fiscal year 2018, UNHCR projected that more than 1,200,000 refugees were in need of resettlement to a third country, and this projection continues to grow in 2019;
Whereas the United States resettlement program is a life-saving solution critical to global humanitarian efforts, which serves to strengthen global security, leverage United States foreign policy goals, and support regional host countries while serving individuals and families in need;
Whereas the United States has been a global leader in responding to displacement crises around the world and promoting the safety, health, and well-being of refugees and displaced persons;
Whereas refugees are the most vetted travelers to enter the United States and are subject to extensive screening checks, including in person interviews, biometric data checks, and multiple interagency checks;
Whereas the United States leverages resettlement to encourage other countries to keep their doors open to refugees, allow refugee children to attend school, and allow adults to work;
Whereas the United States refugee resettlement system emphasizes early self-sufficiency through employment, and most adult refugees are employed within their first six months of arriving to the United States;
Whereas refugees contribute to their communities by starting businesses, paying taxes, sharing their cultural traditions, and being involved in their neighborhoods, and reports have found that refugees contribute more than they consume in state-funded services – including for schooling and health care;
Whereas, for over 40 years, the United States has resettled up to 200,000 refugees per year, with an average ceiling of 95,000 refugees per year, and on average actually resettled 80,000 refugees per year;
Whereas, the United States has abdicated its leadership by setting a record-low refugee admissions goal in FY 2018 at 30,000;
Whereas, on January 27, 2017, President Donald J. Trump released an executive order banning individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries and all refugees from entering the country;
Whereas, since that time, the President has taken further executive and administrative actions to ban people from Muslim-majority countries and to dismantle the United States refugee program, resulting in lowered capacity and loss of institutional memory and experience in the successful United States Refugee Admissions Program: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) reaffirms our country’s proud history of refugee resettlement;
(2) recognizes January 27, 2019, as the anniversary of the first refugee and Muslim ban;
(3) reaffirms the strong bipartisan commitment of the United States to promote the safety, health, and well-being of refugees, including through resettlement to the United States for those who cannot return home and cannot rebuild their lives in the country to which they first fled;
(4) underscores the importance of the United States Refugee Admissions Program as a critical tool for United States global leadership;
(5) recognizes the profound consequences faced by refugees and their families who have been stranded, separated, and scarred by current United States policies, leaving many mid-process and more with little hope of anticipated United States entry; and
(6) calls upon the United States Government—
(A) to resettle a robust number of refugees to meet global need in fiscal years 2019 and 2020 with an emphasis on rebuilding the resettlement program and returning to historic norms;
(B) to operate the program in good faith and in an attempt to meet their own stated objectives and restore historic refugee arrivals;
(C) to uphold its international leadership role in responding to displacement crises with humanitarian assistance and protection of the most vulnerable populations;
(D) to improve consultation with Congress and adherence to the clear congressional intent within the Refugee Act of 1980; and
(E) to recommit to offering freedom from oppression and resettling the most vulnerable refugees regardless of their country of origin or religious beliefs.
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