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HHS Head and UN Ambassador Nominees Could Impact Refugee Policies in US, Worldwide

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WASHINGTON—Tomorrow, the Senate will consider two of President-elect Trump’s nominees, both of whom will have a major impact on refugees.  

Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, would have control over refugee resettlement services the U.S. provides to all refugees that have been selected, screened, and approved to come to the United States. He would also control services to children—most from Central America—who come to the U.S. over the southern border without their parents, as well as individuals who are granted asylum, trafficking and torture survivors, and those who are resettled to the U.S. because they helped U.S. troops in their missions overseas.

“The Secretary of Health and Human Services is responsible for overseeing the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which puts him in charge of providing for the basic needs of refugees when they first arrive in the United States," said Melanie Nezer, HIAS VP for Policy and Advocacy. “HIAS urges senators to ask how Congressman Price will provide these services in the midst of severe funding shortfalls. We need to know that Rep. Price is committed to doing everything in his power to fight for funding and basic services for refugees and the communities across the country that welcome and support them.”

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, also would play a key role in protecting and resettling refugees.

HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield said, “only a few months ago, for the first time in history, the UN General Assembly brought together heads of state and foreign ministers to address the global refugee crisis. The world is facing the largest number of refugees and displaced people in recorded history. The next U.S. Representative to the UN must maintain the energy and build on the progress we saw during the summits. Senators must ask how Governor Haley will ensure that the US remains the world’s leader in refugee resettlement and hold UN member countries responsible for the commitments they made to protect refugees.”

He continued, “refugees have a strong ally at the UN in new Secretary General Antonio Guterres. The next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations must be committed to working with him to address the most pressing humanitarian crisis of our time.”

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