HIAS Rejects President Trump’s Refugee Falsehoods at United Nations

NEW YORK—Today, in his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump stated that “for the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region,” and that “uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries.”

This follows multiple reports that the Trump administration has ignored a government study which found that over ten years, refugees in the United States have had a net positive fiscal impact on the U.S. government of $63 billion.

In response, Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees, issued the following statement:

“Since America is truly a compassionate country, as the president said this morning, we should be welcoming more refugees—plain and simple. At the very least, we should not be signaling to the rest of the world that their responsibility to protect refugees is optional. Additionally, the notion that assistance overseas and domestic resettlement are mutually exclusive, is untrue and ignores the tremendous benefits contributed by the millions of refugees resettled in the U.S.

“As a matter of funding and policy, the U.S. has always prioritized keeping refugees safe in their home region. Resettling a small percentage of them, however, not only reunites those refugees with family in the U.S., but secures a solution those refugees who are particularly vulnerable in their host countries, and helps share responsibility and ease some of the pressure on host countries. Furthermore, refugee resettlement is, by its very definition, controlled migration, providing refugees with a legal and secure process for finding safe haven.

“As the American Jewish community prepares to enter our holiest days, HIAS and our supporters across the country hope that this administration can find the time to reflect deeply on the costs of ending American leadership on refugees.”

In the coming weeks, President Trump will announce the Presidential Determination, setting the ceiling on the maximum number of refugees that can be resettled in the coming year. Since 1980, the average annual ceiling has been set at 96,229 refugees. HIAS is calling for a determination of at least 75,000 refugees.


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