Earlier this month, we were met with good news as the Biden administration announced their decision to formally increase the number of new refugee arrivals for this federal fiscal year to 62,500. While we enthusiastically welcome this policy change, we are closing out the month with much work left to be done if we are to rebuild the infrastructure of the refugee resettlement program and ensure the U.S. lives up to its promise as a beacon of freedom, prosperity, and Democracy.
As we look toward World Refugee Day and Immigrant Heritage month in June, we ask you all to celebrate refugees and immigrants by raising your voice and ensuring our elected officials are doing all they can to both protect and elevate these communities. Below is a short list of our federal advocacy priorities for the summer along with links to places where you can learn more and take action:
- Ensure the Biden Administration Rebuilds the Resettlement Program, U.S. Welcomes 125,000 Refugees Next Year
Background: After enduring four years of record-low admissions numbers (among other harmful policy changes) during the Trump Administration, the infrastructure of the U.S. Refugee Admissions program is considerably weaker while thousands of refugees in need of resettlement have been left in harm’s way.
The Ask to Congress: Urge the Biden Administration to set a minimum refugee admissions goal of 125,000 for next year and prioritize rebuilding the U.S.’s capacity to welcome individuals fleeing persecution.
- Restore Asylum Protections, Welcome Unaccompanied Children
Background: Despite the increased number of asylum seekers and unaccompanied children seeking safety across the U.S. border, the formal arrival numbers of unaccompanied children are conversely on the decline. Additionally, for more than a year, the U.S. government has misused public health authority to expel and block families, adults, and children seeking refuge at the southern border, referred to as “Title 42 expulsions.” Title 42 is a family separation policy that prevents refugees from requesting U.S. asylum at the border and should be lifted accordingly.
The Ask to Congress: Urge the Biden Administration to welcome unaccompanied children and asylum seekers at the border, terminate Title 42 expulsions, and ensure unaccompanied children are safe, housed, fed, and cared for.
- Advance Policies and Programs that Support Integration Services and Provide a Pathway to Citizenship
Background: The New Deal for New Americans Act, HR 1308, is a comprehensive package of legislation that serves as a blueprint for how the federal government should approach immigrant integration and inclusion. Key provisions of the bill include:
- Creates a National Office on New Americans to lead a federal immigrant and refugee inclusion and integration strategy coordinated with state and local governments and community stakeholders
- Eliminate barriers to citizenship for eligible residents
- Launches federally funded programs for English language learning and workforce development to build the skills of immigrants and refugees and prepare our diverse workforce for better jobs that support families and help grow our economy.
- Strengthens due process laws for migrants and asylum seekers
- Creates a minimum floor number of 110,000 for new refugee arrivals each year
The Ask to Congress: Co-sponsor the New Deal for New Americans Act
- Protect Afghan Interpreters and the SIV Program
Background: The Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Programs were created in 2008 and 2009, respectively, to protect Iraqi and Afghan translators, interpreters, and workers whose lives were in danger as a result of their affiliation with the U.S. government. As the U.S. As the U.S. prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan,there are more than 17,000 Afghans who have faithfully served and defended American soldiers during times of war currently awaiting visa authorization and facing imminent harm.
The Ask to Congress: Urge the Biden Administration to safely evacuate Afghans in need of U.S. protection before the withdrawal of troops in the country and to authorize as many Special Immigrant Visas that are necessary.
New American Pathways stands in solidarity with all persecuted peoples and their right to pursue a life filled with purpose and dignity. Our advocacy work aims to affirm our commitment to promoting human rights, Democracy, and equitable access to services and resources that can materially improve the quality of life for refugees and all Georgians.
For comments or questions about New AP’s policy and advocacy work, please contact Ashley Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org