Hetfield to Halifax Forum: U.S. Will Again Lead on Refugee Protection

By Sharon Samber, HIAS.org

For the past four years America has been saying and doing the wrong thing when it comes to refugee issues, Mark Hetfield told the 2020 Halifax International Security Forum.

In a video interview for the annual forum, where more than 300 civic leaders discussed pressing global security challenges last week, Hetfield signaled that things will change for the better in the U.S. with the new Biden administration.

“I’m really optimistic that over the next four years America will once again lead in the area of refugee protection globally and also will do it by example,” Hetfield said.

The U.S. has the resources to demonstrate to the rest of the world that “we are committed to working with them, to solving the refugee crisis,” he said.

Hetfield added that there is a real “fear of the other” in the U.S. that has been exploited by the Trump administration, and that now there has to be more community involvement in working with refugees and asylum seekers for there to be a change.

“That’s really job one,” he said, “Trying to familiarize Americans with who refugees and asylum seekers really are.”

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