News from the week of September 30th

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This Friday, Former Ambassador Ryan Crocker wrote in Newsweek of his disappointment in the 2019 refugee cap. “As an ambassador to six countries under both Republican and Democratic presidents, I saw firsthand the power of American leadership on refugee resettlement. Not only did it save lives; it helped strengthened U.S. credibility, leverage, and alliances, enabling our country to pursue its own strategic interests.” Read Ambassador Crocker’s powerful piece here.



Yasir Ibrahim came to the United States in 2008, fleeing ethnic violence and persecution in Iraq. He resettled in Detroit, Michigan, and worked hard to build a new life for himself. Yasir’s first job in the United States was as a clerk in a dollar store stocking shelves. Today, he’s a self-made entrepreneur employing 15 people at his restaurant. Refugees accounted for nearly half of Michigan’s population growth since 2010, and Global Detroit’s research finds that refugees are a boon for the state’s economy. Yasir is a testament to these facts and the vitality refugees can bring to local communities.



Legendary Army Special Forces officer, Major General Sidney Shachnow, passed away this week at the age of 83. Shachnow showed courage throughout his life, surviving a concentration camp as a young child in Lithuania, emigrating to America in 1950, and then rising through the ranks of the Army to deploy twice to Vietnam and then to Cold War-era Berlin. He served in the military for 39 years and was revered for his sage guidance, determination, and dedication. “Maj. Gen. Shachnow truly lived the American dream. He came up through the ranks from private to major general through hard work and selfless service to this nation and the men and women under his command.”



This week several high-profile companies—including Microsoft, IKEA, H&M, Sodexo, and Hilton—announced initiatives to counter the global refugee crisis. Plans include everything from “employing thousands of refugees to investing millions of dollars in skills training, technology, and educational equipment.” These businesses recognize that assisting refugees is not only an economic opportunity and a long-term investment, but the right thing to do.



After conferring with Congress, the Trump Administration set the refugee ceiling for Fiscal Year 2019 at 30,000—an all-time low since the Refugee Program began in 1980. In a press release Thursday, Human Rights First noted: “This reduction will put more stress on front-line refugee-hosting nations, who continue to support the vast majority of the world’s refugees, and whose stability is critical to U.S. foreign policy and security interests. It will also further harm Iraqi refugees stuck in the resettlement backlog, including many who are at risk due to their work for the U.S. military or other U.S. entities.”