The need for resettlement has never been greater. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has reported that a record-breaking 100 million people are now forcibly displaced worldwide, 26.6 million of whom are registered as refugees. More than half of those registered are children.
Since establishing the US refugee program in 1980, the United States has historically resettled the largest number of refugees annually, until recent years. Now more than ever, we need to renew and rebuild this commitment in the face of unprecedented circumstances. This is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing. We have seen how refugees have invigorated our economies, brought innovation, and strengthened our communities through their contributions to our public life and cultural institutions. As communities across the United States struggle with labor shortages, aging populations, and other challenges, welcoming refugees is also a much-needed boon to our economy.
Resettlement saves lives and paves the way for a brighter future for all of us. But while the Biden administration promised to welcome 125,000 refugees last year, only a fraction of that number was actually admitted. We must do more.
In anticipation of the President’s annual decision on how many refugees the United States will resettle in the upcoming fiscal year, this nonpartisan, unbranded letter emphasizes how vital refugees are to the fabric of our communities, and why we need a robust, well-funded system to welcome them.