Community Members, Faith Leaders, and Refugees Discuss Local Impacts of Dramatic Cuts to Refugee Program

For Immediate Release: September 20, 2018

Contact: Rev. Noel Andersen[a][b]

nandersen@cwsglobal.org

510-334-431

 

*** MEDIA RELEASE***

 

Community Members, Faith Leaders, and Refugees Discuss Local Impacts of Dramatic Cuts to Refugee Program

 

Cutting Refugee Admissions to 30,000 Will Have Negative Consequences for Columbus; Leaders Urge Congress to Push Back

 

Columbus, OH – City Council member Liz Brown joined faith leaders and members the refugee community to show support for Columbus’ local refugee resettlement office, Community Refugee and Immigration Services, in the wake of the Trump administration’s drastic cuts to the refugee program. After setting the lowest refugee admissions goal in history last year - 45,000 - and admitting less than half of even that low number, the Trump administration has announced it plans to slash the number even further to 30,000. Earlier today, faith leaders, refugee leaders, resettlement agencies and community partners shared how the refugee resettlement program has enriched their communities in Columbus, and asked Congress to urge the administration to raise this number and welcome 75,000 refugees in 2019.

 

Angie Plummer, Executive Director of Community Refugee Immigration Services

“Here at CRIS we see the direct impact of this year’s low arrivals and anti-refugee policies in the faces of refugees waiting for their family members to join them, whose family members are #StillNotHere: Beshiya, Fadumo, Afkab, Deborah, Jackie. We stand here today to speak on behalf of these and the many other people in Central Ohio who will be negatively impacted if this low ceiling is allowed to stand. Around the globe people will suffer if we do not demand of our Members of Congress to push for a goal of welcoming 75,000 refugees next year.”

 

Jackie Kifuko, Impacted Refugee and Refugee Organizer for CRIS

“As a former refugee, the Presidential determination numbers of 30000 refugees for FY19 is devastating and heartbreaking. I was convinced and promised that immediately after my arrival in America my son would be able to join me. A year ago I applied for him. The only communication I received from USCIS was acknowledgement of the receipt for the file and the increased slow down of processing has kept him from me. These new historically low refugee numbers mean thousands of families like mine will remain separated and torn apart and reduces the chances of 22 million of getting to a safe haven.”

 

Liz Brown, Columbus City Council Member

“In Columbus this is a common sense issue, I’m proud of my city and I’m proud that refugees come here and feel welcome. I’m also keenly aware of what refugees add to our local economy. We actually looked into the numbers, partnering with CRIS to do a study, and found that refugees contribute 1.6 billion dollars to our local economy, refugees support almost 22,000 jobs in our city. We should not be shutting the door, but opening the door further because its part of our growth of our city. Refugees and immigrants are part of that picture, they’re part of the vibrancy and culture that we’re proud of here in our county. Our message to the federal government is to stop getting in our way of Columbus being a welcoming city.”

Rev. Noel Andersen, Church World Service, National Grassroots Coordinator

“Secretary Pompeo placing blame on asylum seekers for a lower refugee admissions goal is wrong, and deceptive. Of the nearly 300,000 asylum cases pending, most will have to wait 2-4 years for their case to be heard, and most will likely be denied and deported. In FY16 only 20,455 individuals were granted asylum. These are two completely different systems. Less than 1 percent of the world’s refugees are resettled, and resettlement is the last resort for refugees who cannot return to their home countries and cannot rebuild their lives where they first fled. They wait years in refugee camps or urban environments to go through the most stringent security checks possible. To slam the door on those anyone fleeing persecution is morally unjust.”

 

 Rev. Dan Clark, Ohio Director, Faith in Public Life

“Both my faith and my country have great traditions of welcoming refugees. Offering hospitality and celebrating diversity makes life meaningful and makes America great. But the current administration is drastically and tragically cutting refugee admissions because of bigotry-fueled scapegoating. We need elected officials who lead with courage and compassion and who will carry on the faithful and patriotic tradition of welcoming refugees.”

 

Click here for a livestream of the press conference.  

 

COSPONSORS: Community Refugee and Immigration Services, Church World Service, Faith in Public Life, Abubakar Assiddiq Islamic Center, First Community Church, Columbus Sanctuary Collective

 

 

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