WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga is one of several legislators asking the White House to reconsider its stance on the number of refugees allowed to enter the country.
Huizenga is one of 16 Republicans who sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking officials to reconsider the plan to reduce the number of refugees admitted to the United States to a record-low level of 18,000.
In a statement, Huizenga said America cannot lead from behind on the issue of religious persecution and refugee resettlement. He also said West Michigan, the location of his home district of Zeeland, has a long standing tradition to welcome people facing persecution and those displaced because of war.
“Whether it is our faith-based institutions, non-profit organizations, or individuals within the community, West Michigan continues to set an example Washington could learn from. The Trump Administration should reconsider its position,” Huizenga said.
The full letter reads:
“Dear Secretary Pompeo:
Since our nation’s founding, the United States has served as a beacon of hope to those suffering from oppression and conflict across the globe. The Statute of Liberty perfectly encapsulates our outstretched hand, accepting the world’s huddled masses who yearn to be free. As the world continues to face an overwhelming refugee crisis, we respectfully urge you to uphold our nation’s commitment to assist individuals who have been displaced by violence and strife.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are approximately 20 million refugees worldwide with more than 50 percent being children. Among those, roughly eight million refugees are from Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Additionally, another 37,000 people are forced to flee their homes every day due to conflict and persecution in their home countries.
Continued U.S. leadership is critical in addressing ongoing humanitarian crises caused by civil war and persecution and in assisting displaced persons. One area where America can lead is by creating and protecting de-escalation zones near war-torn countries and providing humanitarian assistance to people in need. We must also continue to accept and care for refugees here in America.
In our communities throughout the country, there is a long history of opening doors to assist refugees. Local leaders, faith groups, and businesses have come together to create an environment where refugees are welcomed and receive the services necessary to learn English, find employment, and become part of the fabric of their new communities.
As such, we urge you to maintain the United States’ longstanding commitment to assist refugees with a special focus on assisting individuals hailing from nations facing the worst conditions possible. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.”
Representatives who signed the letter led by Ken Buck (CO) include: Fred Upton (MI), Susan W. Brooks (IN), John Curtis (UT), Scott Tipton (CO), Doug Lamborn (CO), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Steve Stivers (OH), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), John Katko (NY), Dan Newhouse (WA), Rob Woodall (GA), Chris Stewart (UT), and Mario Diaz-Balart (FL).