Crow, Colorado Democratic House Delegation Call on President Biden to Raise the Annual Refugee Cap

April 16, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON - Today, Congressman Jason Crow (CO-06) led the Colorado Democratic House Delegation to call on President Biden to raise the annual refugee cap for Fiscal Year 2021.

Crow, joined by Reps. Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, and Ed Perlmutter, called attention to Colorado’s proud history of embracing refugees. Colorado has one of the most robust refugee settlement integration programs in the United States and typically welcomes an average of 1,650 individuals per year. 

“Throughout our nation’s history, the United States has been a beacon of hope and sanctuary for those fleeing for their lives. Refugees are the most thoroughly vetted people who enter our borders, undergoing a strict, often multi-year, screening process, to ensure that they pose no national security threat. Refugees are our neighbors and friends and make countless contributions to our communities and economy. In fact, according to a 2018 Economic and Fiscal Impact of Refugees in Colorado report, for every $1 spent by Colorado on refugees, $1.23 is returned to state and local governments from tax generated by refugees,” the lawmakers wrote. 

The letter comes as President Biden announced he would sign a declaration to speed refugee admissions to the U.S. Crow, DeGette, Neguse, and Perlmutter urged the Biden-Harris Administration to go further and fulfill the U.S. commitment to refugees in need of resettlement. 

Full text of the letter is online and below:

Dear President Biden, 

We applaud your Administration’s commitment to restoring the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) by offering the “Executive Order on Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs to Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration” on February 4, 2021. This Executive Order would rescind the Trump Administration’s harmful refugee policies and raise the annual cap on refugee admissions to 62,500 by October 1, 2021. We urge you to sign an Emergency Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions in order to put these policies into action. 

For several years now, the world has been grappling with the largest refugee crisis in recorded history. Fortunately, Colorado is one of the states with the most robust refugee settlement integration programs. Typically, Colorado welcomes an average of 1,650 individuals per year. As such, refugees have become an integral part of the State of Colorado and the lives of Coloradans. 

Throughout our nation’s history, the United States has been a beacon of hope and sanctuary for those fleeing for their lives. Refugees are the most thoroughly vetted people who enter our borders, undergoing a strict, often multi-year, screening process, to ensure that they pose no national security threat. Refugees are our neighbors and friends and make countless contributions to our communities and economy. In fact, according to a 2018 Economic and Fiscal Impact of Refugees in Colorado report, for every $1 spent by Colorado on refugees, $1.23 is returned to state and local governments from tax generated by refugees. 

Since enactment of the bipartisan Refugee Act of 1980, the average annual goal for refugee admissions has been 95,000. Unfortunately, the Trump administration reduced the refugee ceiling every fiscal year starting with 45,000 for Fiscal Year 2018 to 15,000 for Fiscal Year 2021, which is the lowest in the 40-year history of USRAP. According to the Colorado Department of Human Services Refugee Services Program, 422 new refugees settled in Colorado in Fiscal Year 2020. The coronavirus pandemic complicated matters by causing refugee settlement programs to pause across the country. As a result, only 63 refugees settled in Colorado between October 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021. In the first half of Fiscal Year 2021, the United States has only admitted 2,050 refugees. 

While your administration has taken steps to reverse these harmful policies and restore the image of America as a beacon of hope for all, more is needed to fulfill the U.S. commitment to refugees in need of resettlement. We urge you to sign an Emergency Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2021 to increase the refugee ceiling from 15,000. Our future as a leader on the global stage depends on it. 

 

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