Letter to Congress about the refugee resettlement program

I went to an Exodus Refugee Immigration event a few days ago, and was inspired. I think it’s a moral obligation to help refugees around the world. Ideally this would mean helping other countries maintain stability in humane ways and also helping individuals who have been forced to relocate. Admitting 20,000 or 100,000 people into the USA is a significant part of that. This is at least a token gesture of hospitality, and it makes a huge difference for the people admitted. And, to top it off, immigrants often end up being active, contributing members of their communities.

Here’s a letter I sent to my congressman and senators:

August 25, 2019

The Honorable James Baird, Todd Young, Michael Braun

Since 1975, the United States has offered safe-haven to nearly 3 million refugees who faced persecution in Communist-controlled and conflict-ridden regions of the world. This resettlement reflects our Nation’s noblest humanitarian traditions, and should continue.
— Senator Richard Lugar, in “Abandoned Upon Arrival”, July 21, 2010

Refugee resettlement has historically enjoyed strong bipartisan support because it reflects our shared values of welcoming those fleeing persecution. Past presidents have used refugee admissions to support those who seek liberty and reject ideologies antithetical to American values. Republican and Democrat administrations have raised refugee admissions for populations fleeing communist uprisings, religious persecution, and tyranny in countries like Vietnam, Cuba, the former Soviet Union, Kosovo, Myanmar, and Iran. Today, 65 million people around the world are displaced, including 22.5 million refugees—the highest number in recorded history. Estimates indicate that a person is displaced every 20 minutes. However, when global need is at its highest, the Trump administration has quickly reversed our nation’s traditional role as a world leader in refugee protection and resettlement.
We are all USA

Hello, I am Matt Burke, and I am your constituent from Kirklin. I urge you to do everything in your power to protect the refugee resettlement program from being decimated by the administration. The administration is considering setting the refugee admissions goal for next year at ZERO. Congress must hold the administration accountable. By law, the administration must consult with Congress prior to setting the refugee admissions goal, which means you are uniquely poised to ensure that the administration fulfills its obligation to consult with Congress ahead of deciding how many refugees to welcome in FY20. Please do everything in your power to see that the administration stops its attacks on refugees and commits to resettling 95,000 in 2020. My community welcomes refugees, and I urge you to reflect the best of our nation by supporting refugee resettlement.


Matthew Burke (address)