Statement from RST CEO Aaron Rippenkroeger Regarding the Executive Order

We are deeply disappointed by the Executive Order issued today by the Trump administration banning travel to the U.S. for individuals from six countries, instituting a complete stop in refugee arrivals for the next four months, and renewing a commitment to reduce refugee arrivals to the U.S. to 50,000 people.

The consistent and inappropriate conflation between refugees and terrorism is unfounded and unconscionable and represents a dark moment in the history of the United States. Refugees are fleeing violence and persecution to find a new home for their families in peace and safety.

There has never been a deadly terrorist act committed by a refugee since the U.S. refugee program was formalized in 1980.

Numerous recent reports, including from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, emphasize that this politically-motivated action will not make American citizens any safer. In fact, studies show that the crime rate and incidents of violence among former refugees in the U.S. is dramatically lower than that among native-born Americans. 

The U.S. has the most stringent refugee security vetting process in the history of the world by any country, and refugees are by far the most heavily vetted of all individuals traveling to the U.S. 

Over 70% of these refugees are women and children, and over 70% of these individuals are coming to the U.S. to join family members who already live here. Separating families needlessly is cruel and un-American.  This action will again leave vulnerable families in limbo, waiting for a refuge once promised to them, that now may never come.

Sadly, the continuous anti-refugee messaging by the Trump administration conveys an ongoing theme of persecution of vulnerable people here in the United States, based on a false premise that over two years of security vetting, including 21 different steps carried out by numerous national security and intelligence agencies, is somehow not extreme enough. 

Less than 1% of refugees in the world ever make it through the full resettlement process, which is also why any individual wishing to cause harm in the U.S. would never attempt to gain entry to the country through the refugee program - because the chances of actually making it are so small.

For those that do arrive to the U.S., they have historically been greeted with a warm welcome by the millions of Americans that care about refugees and understand what they have been through.  These Americans have made their voices heard once again in recent weeks, clearly stating that this action does not reflect their views and stands in the way of their efforts to live out their faith and their compassion for others.  Even worse, these negative sentiments embolden those who would use any excuse to inflict harm on those who originate from any group outside their own.

We urge the Trump administration to rescind this harmful Executive Order and lead America back from the retreat from our values as a country and our standing in the world at a time of record forced migration due to violence and persecution. Millions of people in this country and around the world look to America for moral leadership in times of challenge.  This is not the right direction to a safer and more compassionate world.