Today’s Need

Today's Need

Some officials in the Trump administration have proposed admitting zero refugees in Fiscal Year 2020. This is unconscionable and would be the end of refugee resettlement in the United States. We need you to contact your senators and congressional representatives to speak out against the dismantling of the refugee resettlement program.

CALL TO ACTION

Join us by calling for the passage of the Grace Act:

  • Call your senators and representative (find them here: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members)
  • Call two out-of-town friends or family members and ask them to call their senators and representative every single day
  • Do it again as often as you can
  • Share this Call to Action widely

Want to do this with others? Join us during your lunch hour for Advocacy Wednesdays at 12pm at 2100 Arch St.  We’ll be providing dessert!

Call Pennsylvania Senators

Patrick “Pat” Toomey (R)

Washington D.C. Office: (202) 224-4254

Local Offices: (215) 241-1090, (610) 434-1444

 

Robert “Bob” Casey (D)

Washington D.C. Office: (202) 224-6324

Local Offices: (215) 405-9660, (610) 782-9470

Call Philadelphia Area Congressional Representatives

District 1: Brian Fitzpatrick (R)

Washington D.C. Office: (202) 225-4276

Local Office: (215) 579-8102

 

District 2: Brendan Boyle (D)

Washington D.C. Office: (202) 225-6111

Local Offices: (215) 335-3355, (267) 335-5643, (215) 426-4616, (215) 982-1156

 

District 3: Dwight Evans (D)

Washington D.C. Office: (202) 225-4001

Local Office: (215) 276-0340

 

District 4: Madeleine Dean (D)

Washington D.C. Office: (202) 225-4731

District Offices: (215) 884-4300, (610) 382-1250

 

District 5: Mary Gay Scanlon (D)

Washington D.C. Office: (202) 225-2051

District Office: (610) 626-1913

 

District 6: Chrissy Houlahan (D)

Washington D.C. Office: (202) 225-4315

District Offices: (610) 883-5050, (610) 295-0815

Background Information

  • Since 1980, the average presidential refugee ceiling has exceeded 95,000. In fiscal year 2019, President Trump set the refugee ceiling at 30,000, less than one third the average ceiling since 1980. 
  • Recent reports have suggested that the refugee ceiling will be set between 0 and 10,000 for fiscal year 2020. This is unacceptable and would mean huge setbacks to refugee resettlement in the US for years to come. 
  • We need you to call your senators and congressional representatives and tell them to support the Guaranteed Refugee Admission Ceiling Enhancement Act, also known as the GRACE Act, which would set the annual refugee floor at 95,000 in line with our country’s historical commitment to refugee resettlement. 

Script

Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I live in [YOUR ZIP CODE].

I am calling today ask [NAME OF CONGRESSPERSON] to do everything in their power to ensure that President Trump sets the refugee ceiling at 95,000 for fiscal year 2020. I am asking for 95,000 because that has been the average annual refugee ceiling since 1980.

There have been recent reports that the administration is considering a ceiling between 0 and 10,000. This is concerning because the world is currently facing the highest number of displaced people it has ever seen at 70.8 million.

One way that [NAME OF CONGRESSPERSON] can help is by supporting the Guaranteed Refugee Admission Ceiling Enhancement Act, also known as the GRACE Act, which would set the refugee resettlement floor at 95,000. Please pass along my message about the importance of maintaining refugee acceptance and that I urge [NAME OF CONGRESSPERSON] to support the GRACE Act.

Further Talking Points

  • There are 70.8 million forcibly displaced people as of 2019, the highest number the world has ever seen. 
  • Refugees are the most highly vetted immigrants to the United States, undergoing a six-step vetting process that often takes years to complete. 
  • Refugees strengthen the economy by contributing as consumers and taxpayers. Entrepreneurship among refugees is about 50% higher than natural-born citizens in the US. 
  • The current administration frequently justifies its abdication of U.S. leadership on refugee resettlement by blaming the number of asylum seekers arriving at our southern border who are fleeing violence and persecution. However, they have made concerted efforts to deter asylum seekers by:
    • Instituting zero-tolerance policies on illegal border crossings resulting in family separation
    • Pursuing “Safe Third Country” agreements with Mexico and Guatemala, barring many asylum-seekers who must travel through other countries before arriving in the United States
    • Instituting the “Remain in Mexico” policy, forcing asylum seekers to await their immigration hearings in Mexican border cities
  • These attacks against asylum in tandem with cuts to the refugee program demonstrate the the administration welcomes no one, no matter how they seek safety, no matter what persecution they face. 
  • There is no validity in the claim that USCIS does not have the capacity to interview or screen refugees, especially given the recent news that USCIS is urging its officers to volunteer with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
  • We cannot turn our backs on those who we have pledged to protect. Nearly 40,000 refugees are already approved and at various stages in the process. To reject them, after they have already waited for years to be resettled, would be a betrayal in violation of our values and humanitarian obligations.
  • Refusing refugees could create a ripple-effect in which other countries follow the lead of the United States and stop welcoming refugees. This could cause instability in regions facing particularly high numbers of refugees and strain international relations, creating further conflict. 
  • A zeroing out or large decrease in the number of refugees resettled in the US would have grave consequences for the refugee resettlement program going forward. 40 years of resettlement infrastructure would be destroyed by such small numbers and would undermine refugee resettlement for years to come.
  • For 40 years, refugee resettlement has been a bi-partisan-supported program. This is because it has long been recognized by our government and our military not only as an important humanitarian program consistent with our values but as a vital international peace-keeping tool. Turning our backs on 70.8 million desperate people is no pathway to peace and stability. Welcoming, on the other hand, thousands of different persons who speak different languages, practice different religions, eat different foods and come from different cultures, teaches tolerance. We learn to appreciate one another and in the course of providing critical, integration services, we teach the newcomers about our culture and our democracy.The direct line that can be drawn from El Paso and Pittsburgh to our current government’s anti-immigrant anti-refugee policies and rhetoric couldn’t be more clear. Welcoming brings peace. Turning away brings destruction and violence.

Sample Social Media Posts

  • America stands for welcome, banning refugees and asylum seekers is not who we are or what we stand for. #NORefugeeBans #SaveRefugeeResettlement
  • Shutting down the refugee resettlement program is an assault on our values. #NORefugeeBans #SaveRefugeeResettlement
  • Refugees built America, we must not slam the door on those seeking safety. #NORefugeeBans #SaveRefugeeResettlement
  • Banning refugees would hurt our communities. We must say no. #NORefugeeBans #SaveRefugeeResettlement
  • @realDonaldTrump, turning our backs on Iraqis who worked alongside our military is wrong and unacceptable. #NORefugeeBans #SaveRefugeeResettlement
  • We must protect religious minorities and other families in harm’s way. If we don’t, no one will. #NORefugeeBans #SaveRefugeeResettlement
  • Who will be harmed by shutting down the refugee resettlement program? Victims of violent conflict, American communities, families who are separated, our allies. ALL OF US. #NORefugeeBans #SaveRefugeeResettlement

LEARN MORE ABOUT REFUGEES:

Learn more about the refugee experience and educate those around you about the importance of providing refuge for those fleeing persecution:

  1. AUGUST 13th at 4PM: Join us for our upcoming Ask Me Anything, featuring Brian Bukenya, at facebook.com/hiaspennsylvania. Email your questions here.
  2. AUGUST 15th at 7PM: Join us at the screening of the Island of Hungry Ghosts, a documentary focusing on the migration, trauma and resilience. Executive Director Cathryn Miller-Wilson will be hosting a talk back after the film. The screening is at Slought Foundation (4017 Walnut St, Phila PA 19104). This event is free but registration is required. RSVP here.
  3. Want general information about immigration and refugee resettlement? Click here for additional talking points.

Advocate for immigrants today.