To President Barack Obama:
In response to the increased levels of violence and displacement around the
world today, we write to urgently request that you raise the refugee admissions
goal from 70,000 to 100,000 in Fiscal Year 2016. Although 2015 has just
started, we know that planning has begun and that decisions about next year’s
response to the plight of refugees around the world will be made soon.
In a world where Syrians are fleeing by the millions and Iraqi religious
minorities are running for their lives, the current U.S. refugee resettlement
ceiling is inadequate. There are more displaced people in the world today
than at any time since World War II. Twenty years ago, the United
States was welcoming twice the number of refugees that we receive now.
U.S. officials have promised that the United States will do everything in its
power to meet the needs of displaced Syrians. The needs are staggering.
The conflict in Syria has forced more than 3 million people from their homes;
over half are children who are already being referred to as Syria's "lost
generation." The Islamic State has terrorized the Syrian people,
particularly targeting Christians and religious leaders of all faiths that
oppose their violent ideology. The sheer magnitude of this crisis and the
massive impact on the host countries struggling to meet the needs of these
refugees in an already unstable region demands a vigorous and compassionate
resettlement response for the most vulnerable who will never be safe where they
In neighboring Iraq, the Islamic State has engaged in an ethnic cleansing
campaign against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities.
Iraq’s rich religious and cultural heritage and ethnic diversity are in the
process of being completely destroyed. Members of communities that have lived
in Iraq for thousands of years who do not flee are brutally tortured and
killed. Those who have fled will likely never be able to return home.
Increasing the resettlement ceiling next year will not give major relief
to the countries in the region that are hosting millions of refugees or
put an end to the violence and terror sweeping Syria and Iraq. But
increasing the resettlement ceiling will allow us to save more of the most
vulnerable victims of this unimaginable violence. It will support the
Iraqi and Syrian people and the refugee-hosting countries in the region. And it
will uphold our nation’s promise to support religious freedom and offer safe
haven to those who are persecuted for their faith and beliefs.
[Your name here]