New York, NY, June 29, 2017 — David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC), responds to today’s implementation guidelines for the Trump Administration’s Travel Ban. Said Miliband:
“Three days after the Supreme Court ruling, we still have more questions than answers. The situation is alarming for the security-vetted refugees slated to be resettled by the IRC in the coming days and weeks. Having worked their way through the extensive vetting process, the lack of clarity is not only confusing, it’s inhumane.
“The IRC remains steadfast in its position that the priority at this time should be that security-vetted cases be guaranteed their resettlement, and the long-delayed review of vetting arrangements take place quickly. Legal uncertainty must not obscure that a ban on refugees is both bad and unnecessary policy. We should look no further than the last six months as proof: the current system works well. It is harder to get to the US as a refugee than through any other route, so this ban remains wholly unnecessary.
“The banning of grandmothers – of unaccompanied children – from America’s shores is a disgrace. Doubly so when America is a breaking a promise we have made to safeguard them.”
A policy grounded in no sense, no morality, no principle.
Out of 2,500 people IRC was scheduled to resettle, roughly 1,950 would not meet the arbitrary definitions imposed by the administration– either because they do not possess U.S. ties or because they do not meet a near-nuclear family definition.
The IRC urges that we must not lose sight of the people behind those numbers. For IRC, clients who could now be denied resettlement according to the administration include a Somali family of six – having undergone vetting since 2012 – with a ten year old in need of urgent care for spastic quadriplegia/cerebral palsy. Another, a 77-year-old Iranian refugee, and his two daughters, persecuted for their religion. Without further clarity, IRC will also not know the fate of an Iraqi man and his wife and three children – destined for a new home in Denver – who bravely endured threats in his work as a U.S. contractor.
Agencies as a legitimate U.S. connection.
For Resettlement Agencies, each assured refugee has established a relationship with a U.S. Refugee Admissions Program Resettlement Support Center abroad, before they even reach the U.S.
At the same time, communities here in the U.S. are investing financially and otherwise for their arrival: U.S.-based resettlement agencies invest in an assured case by renting apartments, getting utilities accounts open, lining up volunteer mentors, and liaising with medical providers in advance to treat special needs.
We urge the administration today to speak about the legal justifications for their interpretation, and to provide additional guidance to resettlement agencies.
Learn more about IRC's resettlement of refugees in America.