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Letter: U.S. turning its back on commitment to refugees

More than 65 million people around the world are currently displaced from their home countries, including 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. At no time in recorded history have there been a higher number of refugees.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees notes that the rate of forced displacement from conflict or persecution remains staggeringly high. Every minute, 20 people on average are forced to flee their homes. In less than the time it takes to read this sentence, one person will be forcibly displaced.

However, when the global need is at its highest, the nominally pro-life Trump administration has reversed our nation’s long history as a leader in refugee protection and resettlement. The administration set an all-time low refugee admissions goal for fiscal year 2018 at 45,000. We have turned our backs on the values of compassion that we claim to represent.

To make matters worse, the administration is on track to resettle only 20,000 refugees this year, not even meeting half of their own goal. By March 31, the halfway point for the fiscal year, the administration resettled less than 10,000 refugees.

We have broken our promise to tens of thousands of refugees who already face the most rigorous selection, security vetting and medical screening process of any traveler to the United States.

This is unacceptable. We have a moral imperative to fulfill our commitment to resettle 45,000 refugees this fiscal year.

Robert L. Mietlicki

Buffalo

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