This afternoon, President Donald Trump signed Executive Orders blocking refugees from seeking safety and restricting immigration from Muslim countries – the beginnings of a Muslim ban. These actions ban entry to the United States from several Muslim-majority countries, halt all refugee admissions – including 60,000 refugees from war-torn countries already vetted and approved for admission to United States - for at least 4 months, and sharply cuts the overall level of refugees admitted to the country.
These actions will have severe effects on refugee communities in the United States and in New York, as family members will remain separated indefinitely, students will be unable to complete their education, businesses will be deprived of employees, and refugee service providers will suffer a dramatic blow to their services.
“For most of our history, America has welcomed refugees as a strength. It’s a deep and tragic irony that Trump slammed the door in the face of refugees on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, as the entire refugee convention came out of the Holocaust and the failure of the international community to protect Jews and survivors,” said Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS.
Michael Schmidt, Director, AJC NY said, “AJC consistently advocates for maintaining America as a safe haven for people escaping persecution, and for fair immigration and refugee policies. Such policies benefit the United States and are consistent with the best of both American and Jewish values.”
“President Trump’s actions today are an insult to the founding ideals and values of America,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “We are a nation founded by refugees fleeing religious persecution, but President Trump now poses a “religious test” on people fleeing violence and war, and tries to shut the door on refugees altogether – despite the long history of refugees from Europe, Vietnam, Cuba and Haiti enriching our country with their resilience and vitality. This is also a major blow to New York’s communities – particularly outside of New York City - where refugees play such a key role in the economy, community and society.”
“On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we stand with our allies in the Jewish community to denounce this heartless, ignorant action that violates the spirit of this sacred day of remembrance for the millions that sought refuge from violence and persecution decades ago.”
The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.