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Statement from Aaron Rippenkroeger, President & CEO, Refugee Services of Texas on the 2018 Presidential Determination

The recent announcement by the White House to cap the number of refugee arrivals at 45,000 for the 2018 fiscal year represents the lowest admissions figure for the United States in decades and puts the lives of tens of thousands of people needlessly at risk. This shameful decision is not based in fact and will also harm America and the international community.

Refugees come to the United States fleeing persecution and violence and to build a better life. They are the most thoroughly vetted people in the history of our country and arrive only after authorization by multiple security agencies. No lethal act of terrorism has ever been committed in the U.S. by a refugee. Refugees are not a danger and to intimate otherwise is a heartless falsehood.

Studies show that refugee families who arrive to the U.S. quickly become self-sufficient, productive, tax-paying citizens. The U.S. Administration's own research recently concluded that refugees contributed $63 billion more to the U.S. economy than any benefits received over the past decade. They also strengthen the cultural diversity that has been core to this country's success from its earliest days.

Against the backdrop of the worst global humanitarian crisis in modern history with over 65 million people displaced from their homes, denying refugees the opportunity to seek refuge in the U.S. is counter to our values as Americans and Texans. And as the U.S. turns them away, this will only signal to countries around the world that they may do the same, leaving millions more in limbo.

The United States was founded by refugees and it has served as a beacon for them and the world for its entire history. Refugees are part of the moral fabric of our nation, who have always served the country well and will continue to do so into the future.

While still well short of our capacity as a country, we urge the U.S. Administration to increase the U.S. refugee admissions goal to a
minimum of 75,000 people this year. By contrast, America has historically welcomed an average of over 90,000 refugees per year since the U.S. Admissions program was formalized in 1980. Bangladesh has welcomed over 400,000 Rohingya refugees within the past month alone.

We encourage all Texans to contact their elected representatives, faith leaders, and fellow citizens to speak out on behalf of refugees and a compassionate welcome.

This cannot be the time to turn our backs on women, children and families in need of help, nor on who we have always been as a country.

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