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Higgins Says Trump’s Record Low Cap on Refugees Ignores the Lessons of History

Oct 1, 2020
Press Release
In Remarks on the House Floor, Congressman Rejects Administration’s Policies Used to Exploit and Divide

On the eve of the new federal fiscal year, which began on October 1, the Trump Administration released their proposed refugee admission report recommending just 15,000 refugees be admitted in 2021. Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) whose Western New York district has benefited from being a welcoming home to refugees, rejected the Administration’s policies intended to exploit and divide.


The full text of Higgins remarks are also below:

“Madam Speaker, one of the first actions of this administration was shut down our nation's doors to families, women and children around the world, fleeing violence and seeking refuge within our borders. These bans showed a lack of decency and empathy and they ignore the lessons of history.

“Immigrants built America and they helped sustain and expand all that is good in a just and free society. The President's ignorance of this history is perhaps the point of his policy, one that he uses to exploit and divide.

“Reports now show that the country intends to admit only 15,000 refugees this year down by nearly 100,000 four years ago. The refugee community in Western New York has helped revitalize our entire neighborhoods, bringing diversity, culture and new economic opportunity.

“Organizations that support refugees like the International Institute of Buffalo, Journey's End, Jewish Family Service and others continue to do their work with dwindling federal support. But still they continue to do their good work.

“I believe that we can once again be a generous and welcoming nation to the world's most vulnerable. It's imperative for our future that we do so.”

Higgins previously opposed Trump’s Muslim ban and spoke out against the Administration’s policies separating children from their families.  In December of 2018, Higgins also fought back against Trump Administration plans to reduce the number of refugee settlement sites, which could have shut down the International Institute, Journey’s End, and Jewish Family Services which serve refugee populations. 

The U.S. allowed for the resettlement of up to 18,000 refugees in 2020, around 30,000 in 2019, 22,000 in 2018 and over 50,000 in years prior. The United States has the most stringent vetting process in the world with the processing time for refugee resettlement averaging about 18-24 months.