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National American Jewish Organizations Call on President to Admit 75,000 Refugees in 2019

August 16, 2018: New York, NY -- Today, the Jewish Labor Committee joined with 36 national Jewish organizations to send a letter to President Donald Trump, urging him to allow at least 75,000 refugees to be admitted to the United States in 2019. The letter reconfirms the American Jewish community’s shared commitment to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

The letter reads in part, “Our country has long been a leader in providing protection and assistance to those fleeing persecution and violence. In fact, the American Jewish community owes its existence to the times in our nation’s history when the U.S. welcomed refugees from all national and religious backgrounds. It is because of our history as refugees, our biblical commandment to “welcome the stranger,” and our longstanding involvement as a community in resettling and welcoming refugees, that we call on you now to give today’s refugees a chance to rebuild their lives in safety and freedom in the United States.”

The Administration must consult with Congress annually, and then establish the upcoming fiscal year’s refugee admissions level, also known as the Presidential Determination. This past year, the refugee admissions ceiling was set at 45,000, but because of administrative and policy changes to the resettlement program, we are not close to hitting this already historically low target. It is estimated that the U.S. will welcome around 20,000 refugees this fiscal year, which will be the lowest number of refugees this country has admitted since the formalization of the resettlement program in 1980. These stark numbers are a reminder of how high the stakes are for the future of refugee resettlement in the United States.