HIAS Outraged by Executive Order Suspending Refugee Resettlement Program

WASHINGTON—Today, President Trump signed an executive order suspending the federal refugee resettlement program, barring the resettlement of refugees from Syria, calling for “extreme vetting,” halting refugee resettlement for 120 days and reducing the number of refugee admissions in fiscal year 2017 to 50,000, compared to 110,000, as planned by the Obama administration.

“With the stroke of a pen, Donald Trump has abdicated American values and American leadership on welcoming refugees,” said Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees. “To deprive refugees of safe haven is to scapegoat vulnerable human beings, and to confuse those who flee terror with terror itself. We can only pray that other countries do not follow Trump’s example of turning away people trying to flee genocide and persecution.”

 “It is both heartbreaking and outrageous that Trump is slamming the door in the faces of refugees on International Holocaust Remembrance Day of all days, as the entire refugee convention came out of the Holocaust and the failure of the international community to protect Jews and survivors,” Hetfield said.

“HIAS is outraged by the Trump administration’s callous approach to victims of war and terror, and its complete disregard for the lessons of the events we commemorate today. We will fight this betrayal of American and Jewish values with every tool at our disposal, because we know all too well the consequences when, rather than rescue and welcome those in need, the U.S. constructs barriers to keep them out.”

“For most of our history, America has welcomed refugees as a strength. However, there have been dark periods, including during the Holocaust, when the United States and other countries shut their doors to millions of innocent people. Instead of finding refuge, they were murdered because of their faith, their opinion, or their ethnicity. Under Donald Trump’s leadership, America is once again entering a terrible dark period where we choose to fear refugees, rather than to welcome them.”


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