Statement By Congressman Higgins in Response to President Trump’s Executive Order
"I stand resolutely with those outraged by the intent and implementation of this Executive Order. The story of our country is defined by the might of immigrants overcoming incredible odds to make a better life for themselves and their families. The message of this Order around the world is that we have sacrificed our values to score political points of dubious value. And worse, the practical effect is that young children may remain separated from their parents, the elderly held back from their families, and students will have their education frustrated.
"As a former member of the Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs Committees, I understand the complex and serious threats to our country and the need to be constantly vigilant against them. To hear reports that this order was hastily developed without the serious input of the professionals responsible for national security and for carrying out the President’s directive is both irresponsible and reckless. This very real impact was evidenced immediately by the confusion and hardships felt by refugees and others held at airports, those who have spent years navigating the strict vetting process toward the goal of reuniting families now facing uncertainty and green card holders nationwide whose freedoms were baselessly restricted. A wholesale ban on people, be it based on religion or country of origin, undermines the very foundation this nation was built on.
“I have tremendous respect for those who commit their lives to protecting our citizens and our way of life. To honor their service, we should not compromise our hard-fought values. Especially in a time when the world grows more complicated, we must stand for continued opportunity as it defines who we are as Americans.
"I am proud to know that our community is welcoming to refugees from all around the world, including those countries directly affected by this order. In recent days I have met with and spoke with a number of Western New York people and agencies directly involved in refugee resettlement and impacted by the Executive Order. I will take their concerns and experiences with me as I head to Washington, DC today. There I will support efforts to fight the aims of this misguided measure and work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle who share in my disdain for it."
The United States has the most stringent vetting process in the world with the processing time for refugee resettlement averaging about 18-24 months. For more information on the refugee vetting process visit the U.S. Department of State website at: https://www.state.gov/j/prm/ra/admissions/index.htm
According to the UN Refugee Agency, “An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.” The U.S. takes in under 1% of the world's refugees. http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/figures-at-a-glance.html