This past election season has been riddled with division, and the issue of immigration is just one of the many issues that divides us.
Donald Trump has proposed a ban on Muslims and Syrians. Hillary Clinton has promised immigration reform. As we cast our votes today, it is important to remember that it is not only American citizens that will be affected, but 60 million displaced persons around the world. The next President has tremendous power over resettlement and immigration policy.
The U.S. has played an important global role in the refugee crisis throughout history. The U.S. is the largest single donor to the UN Refugee Agency, and recently hosted the UN Migration summit. The U.S. takes in the largest number of refugees out of the 28 resettlement countries in the world. Will we continue our legacy and uphold values our country was founded upon? It is up to us to decide.
USCRI president and CEO Lavinia Limon weighs in on the issue. “I’ve been working with refugees for 43 years through Republican and Democratic administrations, and I’ve never ever seen refugees and immigrants as under attack as they are in this campaign by Mr. Trump. I think it’s very divisive and it’s very frightening for refugees and immigrants. It started with the Muslim ban, and then saying that we’re not going to bring any refugees from “terrorist” countries, and now he’s talking about extreme vetting. I don’t think he really understands how extreme the vetting is now – refugees are the most scrutinized people coming to the U.S. But he is echoing a lot of the anti-refugee resettlement voices online.”
On the other hand, Clinton would likely continue many of the same efforts that the Obama Administration has begun, such as increasing the number of resettled refugees and promoting access to education and the work force. Limon states “We’d be looking for her to continue the work that Obama has begun around engaging more nations in providing more resources, but more importantly, providing rights, to refugees.”
There are many issues to consider when voting, but the refugee crisis has arguably never been more important.
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