HIAS Urges Congress Not to Leave Refugees Out of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Posted on Thu, Feb 07, 2013 at 16:14 pm

(New York, NY) – HIAS today released Resettlement at Risk: Meeting Emerging Challenges to Refugee Resettlement in Local Communities, a special report on the increasing resistance to refugee resettlement in communities across the country. The report, the first of its kind on the subject, was funded by a special grant from the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

This report comes on the heels of the President’s call for immediate comprehensive immigration reform and the bi-partisan framework proposed by eight senators, both put forth in the last two weeks.

“As Congress and the President work to fix the broken immigration system, they shouldn't neglect the refugees who immigrate to this country" said HIAS President & CEO Mark Hetfield. “In order to ensure that local communities remain welcoming to refugees, we need to update our outdated laws, reverse chronic underfunding, better prepare refugees for life in America, and—for the first time—create clear goals for successful refugee integration. We also need to do a better job explaining the benefits of refugee resettlement. The humanitarian act of saving and resettling refugees not only benefits the refugees themselves, but the local communities where they resettle and the country as a whole—both of which gain so much from these newcomers.

“We’re extremely grateful to the J.M. Kaplan Fund for recognizing the urgency of this problem and commissioning this report,” said Hetfield. “We’re also thankful to the national and local experts who provided their time, perspectives on anti-resettlement activity across the country, and context for the backlash.”

Resettlement at Risk: Meeting Emerging Challenges to Refugee Resettlement in Local Communities, written by Melanie Nezer, HIAS Senior Director, US Policy & Advocacy, provides an overview of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and some of the new ways refugee resettlement has affected communities. It explores the recent rise in anti-refugee sentiment in three states. The report also includes recommendations aimed at mitigating anti-refugee sentiment when it emerges and strengthening the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. The goal of the recommendations is to ensure that the U.S. continues to lead the world in providing a safe haven for refugees; integrating newcomers successfully; and creating and maintaining diverse, thriving communities that are a model for the rest of the world.