The Weekly Round-Up
The Weekly Round-Up
Welcome to The Briefing newsletter by Jason Clarke and Will Maddox. This week we look at the diverse impacts of the new refugee ceiling. In some place in the United States, refugees are an important part of boosting sagging economies. Refugees are likely to work in jobs that are often difficult to fill, and their buying power can help support local businesses. Reducing refugee numbers can negatively impact these economies. We also look at the mixed message the U.S. government provides in regards to refugees. While we still add more funds to refugee relief organizations than any other country, we can always do more. We hear from a Christian Iraqi refugee making a plea for the U.S. to help those Iraqis who have helped our government and military during the collapse of their own country. Lastly, we look at the reality of who the refugees are that are coming into our country, and how that compares to what our leaders claim. The Briefing is a collaboration between Seek the Peace and We Welcome Refugees.
The United States limited next year’s refugee count at 30,000 from 45,000 last year, but this limit could impact communities that depend on refugee labor, such as Erie, Pennsylvania. The rust belt city has a declining population and resettled refugees helped provide an added boost to the economy. Factory owners are worried that the refugee limits will impact the production line, and property owners may be unable to fill homes without the added population.
Despite the cut in refugee numbers, the United States still contributes more funds to the United Nations refugee relief organizations than any other country in the world, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted. But as of August 31, the U.S. has resettled just 60 refugees from Syria this year, a land ravaged by civil war for seven years. While more than 700,000 Rohingya were forced from their homes in the last year in what the UN is calling genocide, Rohingya resettlement is down 40 percent this year.
An editorial in the Wall Street Journal by a Christian Iraqi refugee makes a plea for the Untied States to make special exceptions for refugees from Iraq, whose country was destabilized by American military action, and where many citizens have aided the American military. “Only 48 Iraqis who previously worked for the U.S. government or other American entity in Iraq have been accepted as refugees so far this year. That is 98.4% less than the number admitted in 2017, and 99.05% less than those admitted in 2016,” she writes.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, now President Donald Trump decried the refugee resettlement rates in the U.S., saying that most refugees who come to the country “are all men…And not only are they men, they are young men and they are strong as can be. They’re tough-looking cookies.” But during the 2016 fiscal year, 72 percent of resettled refugees were women and children. The historically low refugee ceiling set by the United States disproportionally impacts these vulnerable communities.