After a tense nationwide wait since Election Day, HIAS congratulates President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
“The election of Joseph Biden marks a return to (American) values, an acknowledgement that refugees and immigrants have always been a benefit, not a burden to our great country," HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield said in a special video message.
“HIAS looks forward to 'building back better' the U.S. refugee resettlement program in partnership with the U.S. government, and to restoring America's rightful place in the world as a leader for people seeking asylum and for human rights," Hetfield continued, "but we also do need to acknowledge that the closeness of this election and the incredible level of support that both candidates received, demonstrates that America remains a highly polarized and divided country.”
Biden has a proven track record of standing for refugees, Hetfield said in a written statement. As a Senator, Biden co-sponsored The Refugee Act of 1980, which codified the U.S. refugee resettlement program and asylum system.
Biden also has made a number of promises to undo some of the anti-immigration policies of the Trump administration.
“Mr. Biden has pledged to return to normal and resettle 125,000 refugees a year in our country; to end the harmful Remain in Mexico policy that has stranded thousands of people at our Southern border; and to reunite the 545 children still separated from their parents as a result of the current administration's practice of taking children — including babies and toddlers — from their asylum-seeking parents,” Hetfield said in the statement.
Pledging to work with leaders at all levels of government, Hetfield said HIAS is looking forward to doing the hard work ahead.
“All of us at HIAS will be tireless in our work to restore protections and rights to those fleeing persecution and to those seeking safety,” he promised.