House overwhelmingly votes to rebuke Trump's attacks on refugees


The bipartisan resolution reaffirms the 'importance of the United States to promote the safety, health, and well-being of refugees and displaced persons.'

The House of Representatives passed H. Res. 444 on Tuesday afternoon, rebuking the Trump administration and reaffirming that the safety, health, and well-being of refugees and displaced persons should be a priority.

The resolution, offered by Democratic Reps. Ted Lieu and Zoe Lofgren of California, Joe Neguse (D-CO), and Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), passed by a voice vote with no discernible opposition.

Three Republicans and 72 Democrats signed on as sponsors or co-sponsors. In a statement in June, Diaz-Balart said he was pleased to back a resolution that "reaffirms the United States’ commitment to help in protecting those who flee their homes in search of safety."

The bipartisan statement is an admonishment of an administration that has gone out of its way to undermine those things.

The resolution, written in honor of World Refugee Day on June 20, praised the United States' resettlement program as a "life-saving solution critical to global humanitarian efforts, which serves to strengthen global security, advance United States foreign policy goals, and support regional host countries while serving individuals and families in need."

By passing the measure, the House reaffirmed "the bipartisan commitment of the United States to promote the safety, health, education, and well-being of the millions of refugees and displaced persons uprooted by war, persecution, and violence in search of peace, hope, and freedom." It highlighted the "importance of the United States refugee resettlement program as a critical tool for United States global leadership to leverage foreign policy, strengthen national and regional security, and encourage international solidarity with host countries."

It also urged "robust funding for refugee protection and humanitarian response oversees and resettlement to the United States," "robust refugee admission goals," and continued global leadership by the United States in "protection of vulnerable refugee populations that endure sexual violence, human trafficking, persecution and violence against religious minorities, forced conscription, genocide, and exploitation."

In September 2017, the Trump administration rejected a study that found refugees have a positive impact on the country and had "contributed an estimated $269.1 billion in revenues to all levels of government" through taxes, according to the New York Times. Then-White House spokesman Raj Shah claimed that "refugees with few skills coming from war-torn countries take more government benefits from the Department of Health and Human Services than the average population, and are not a net benefit to the U.S. economy.”

Back in May, the Trump administration also denied temporary protected status for refugees fleeing from Venezuela.

And in June, the Washington Post reported that the administration was attempting to withhold basic necessities like toothbrushes, soap, towels, showers, and sleep to migrant detainee children — many of whom were from families seeking refugee status. In July, Politico reported the Stephen Miller anti-immigrant faction in the Trump administration were pushing to eliminate refugee admissions entirely next year.

In August, NBC News reported that the administration was considering an executive order to let states and localities veto refugee resettlement efforts. And this month, for the second year in a row, Refugees International gave the Trump administration an "F" on its report card on refugee and humanitarian protection.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.