LIRS Condemns Administration’s Proposal to Let States and Cities Veto Refugee Admissions
Baltimore, MD – Following reports that the Trump Administration is considering a policy that would allow states and cities to reject refugees who have already been approved for resettlement, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service warns that doing so would undermine the U.S. Constitution and significantly harm communities across the nation that benefit economically and culturally from welcoming refugees.
“Immigration is firmly established as a federal issue, both in the Constitution and from centuries of judicial precedent. Ceding this responsibility to states and localities is an abdication of executive responsibility that dates back to our nation’s founding,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president & CEO of LIRS. “It’s unlawful, unconstitutional, and fundamentally un-American.”
“Communities of all kinds have historically embraced refugee resettlement – not simply because it is the right thing to do, but also because of the vast economic benefits that refugees bring,” continued Vignarajah, referring to research indicating that refugees contribute $63 billion more in state, local and federal taxes than they receive in benefits.
“Resettled refugees are doctors, entrepreneurs, small business owners—they fill a variety of needed jobs in a wide range of industries,” Vignarajah said. “They enrich the communities where they settle in so many ways.”
“Refugees are intensively screened by security agencies in an exhaustive process that involves DHS, FBI, DoD, DoS, HHS, and the wider U.S. intelligence community,” noted Vignarajah. “In fact, national security experts consistently warn that restricting refugee admissions is a grave risk to national security.”
The federal government must not abandon its responsibility to lead refugee resettlement in the best interest of the nation. LIRS strongly opposes any such proposal to weaken our resettlement program.