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OP-ED: President Trump’s Dangerous Falsehoods on Refugees at the United Nations

Sep 20, 2017

External News

Gabe Cahn, HIAS.org

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 19, 2017 in New York City.

(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, September 19, in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump claimed that “for the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region,” and that “uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries.”

In an oped published in the New York Daily News later that day, HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield forcefully rejected these claims, arguing instead that “the notion that America would somehow be doing a greater service to refugees by resettling fewer, or that assistance overseas and domestic resettlement are mutually exclusive, is symptomatic of how this White House views refugees: as threats, not assets.”

Hetfield went on to write, “refugee resettlement to the United States is, by its very definition, controlled migration, providing refugees with a legal and secure process for finding safe haven from countries they were forced to leave.”

The president’s speech at the UN followed multiple reports that the administration has ignored a government study which found that over ten years, refugees in the United States have had a net positive fiscal impact on the U.S. government of $63 billion.

In the coming days, the Trump administration will consult with Congress to determine the maximum number of refugees the United States will admit in 2018. Anything below 67,000 would make it the lowest number ever set by any President since the enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980.

As Hetfield points out in his piece, “last year, the United States contributed over $3 billion to other countries to help them host refugees and resettled 85,000 refugees in our country. Given the magnitude of the crisis, we can and should be committed to at least this level of response.”

To read the full oped in the New York Daily News, click here.