At the Human Service Chamber, we are proud of our country’s history of accepting refugees, including and especially since 1980 when the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program was enshrined in law. We are proud that in Franklin County, approximately 17,000 people have been resettled here, the vast majority since the turn of the decade. And we are proud of the annual $1.6 billion economic contribution refugees are making here, too.
Service to the refugee community is paramount to our sector, to the 76 agencies we have the honor of representing, and especially to those agencies working so hard to help refugees acclimate to their new lives in our community.
Our sector has previously raised concerns over the historically low cap the White House placed on refugee admissions in 2018 and its further decrease in 2019 to just 30,000 individuals.
But Thursday night’s news–that the White House is considering a complete cessation of refugee resettlement–is a most alarming and unprecedented potential step, made all the more so because there are now more refugees worldwide than at any moment in human history.
We are in the process of working with our member agencies and partners in the community on an advocacy effort, though we must move quickly: A decision on 2020’s refugee admissions cap is due from the White House in September. In the meantime, we hope you will join us in reaching out to our congressional delegation and encouraging them to join us in supporting the refugee resettlement program.
We also hope you will join us in offering thanks to one of our member CEOs, Christie Angel of YWCA Columbus, who penned a principled and passionate guest editorial in Saturday’s Columbus Dispatch on the importance of action in the fight against racism, and offered five steps that anyone can take to advance good in our community. We are grateful for her leadership, and her willingness to act through her willingness to speak up.
We need leadership like hers now more than ever.