Utah House Democrats Urge Trump Administration to Honor 45,000 Refugee Admissions Ceiling in 2019 

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: 
August 21, 2018

Contact:         
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(801) 326-1568 | rosschambless@le.utah.gov 

House Democratic Caucus Urges Trump Administration to Continue Resettling Refugees and Honor the 45,000 Refugee Admissions Ceiling in 2019

SALT LAKE CITY – Today the Utah House Democratic Caucus sent the following the letter to President Trump and other White House officials:

August 21, 2018

President of the United States Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

The Honorable Secretary Mike Pompeo
Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

The Honorable Secretary Kristjen Nielson
Department of Homeland Security
3801 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016

Dear President Trump:

We, the Democratic Caucus of the Utah House of Representatives, write to urge the White House to continue to resettle refugees to our great country and honor the 45,000 admissions ceiling in 2019.  

Utahns have an exceptional understanding of the importance of welcoming persecuted peoples and offering them safe haven.  Generations ago, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who also experienced oppression and hardship, sought refuge in what is now Utah. 

By accepting refugees year after year, the great state of Utah has benefited economically and socially by being a welcoming state to refugees and new Americans.  Over 65,000 resilient new Utahns have proven to be an asset to their new communities since our state began resettling refugees but could not have achieved this alone. Over the last two years, over 5,000 volunteers have stepped forward in Salt Lake County to support new Americans in receiving sanctuary, opportunities to rebuild their lives and thrive.

Refugees are compelled to flee their homes, they have faced persecution on account of their religion, ethnicity, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Astonishingly, over 65 million people are displaced globally, the largest displacement crisis in recorded history, including over 22 million refugees. Resettlement offers a chance for less than 1% of the world’s refugees to reach safety in a third country when no other options remain.

Resettlement to the United States is available only for those who demonstrate the greatest and most immediate need for protection and takes place after eligible refugees undergo rigorous selection, security vetting and medical screening processes. Upon arrival, organizations like the International Rescue Committee, Catholic Community Services, and other community partners help refugees in Utah by providing them with the tools of self-reliance: housing; job placement and employment skills; English-language classes; and cultural orientation.

We acknowledge that our nation’s policies for aiding refugees is just one policy piece of a larger immigration puzzle.  We believe Utah’s principles for welcoming immigrants serves as an important model for our nation.  Eight years ago, Utah’s political, business, law-enforcement and religious leaders endorsed the Utah Compact.  It recognizes Utah’s principles in regard to Federal solutions, law enforcement discretion, keeping families together, the economic role immigrants play, and our spirit of inclusion.  Maintaining our commitments to welcoming a reasonable number of refugees is consistent with these values.

In recent decades, we have seen our communities thrive because of our growing diversity and the economic contributions that all newcomers - refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants, and naturalized citizens alike - continue to make. The overwhelming majority of resettled refugees integrated into our communities are hardworking, entrepreneurial, and family-focused people who share our Utah values.  Like most Utahns, they want safe communities, they are patriotic, they cherish the freedoms and opportunities America provides, and they want the best futures possible for their children.

As Utah House Democrats, we cherish Utah’s values of helping those in need.  It is only moral and right that we commit to help newcomers from around the world who have escaped life-threatening circumstances to begin building new lives for themselves and their families. 

Sincerely,

Representative Patrice Arent                                     

Representative Joel Brisco, House Democratic Whip

Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck                    

Representative Sue Duckworth

Representative Lynn Hemingway                             

Representative Sandra Hollins, House Democratic Caucus Manager

Representative Brian King, House Democratic Leader                                         

Representative Karen Kwan

Representative Carol Spackman Moss                      

Representative Marie Poulson

Representative Angela Romero, House Democratic Assistant Whip                                  

Representative Elizabeth Weight

Representative Mark Wheatley

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