Poughkeepsie, New York
February 17, 2017
The January 27th Executive Order imposed a number of limitations on refugee resettlement, including a reduction in the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. this year and a suspension of all refugee admissions for 120 days. Some aspects of the Executive Order were challenged in court and a stay was issued and has been upheld by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. However, other aspects, such as the reduction in the total number of refugees to be admitted to 50,000 has not been challenged and remains in effect. After the ceiling of 50,000 is reached, no additional refugees will be permitted to enter the country through the end of the federal fiscal year on September 30, 2017.
What does that mean for refugee resettlement through the CWS Poughkeepsie office?
· Our commitment to the family of five refugees relocated in January to our area remains our top priority. We will continue to support their successful resettlement, in coordination with the family’s welcome team. I am happy to report that this effort is off to a good start, thanks in large part to the efforts of dedicated volunteers and members of the community. Thank you—you help make this possible.
· Future resettlement of refugees through the CWS Poughkeepsie office is unlikely in the near term, due largely to the new ceiling of 50,000 refugees for the current year. Accordingly, CWS Poughkeepsie is not able to accommodate offers from volunteers to work with refugees, either for welcome teams or those having particular skills (social, language, teaching, etc.).
· The CWS Poughkeepsie office will remain open to continue to serve the family recently relocated to the area. We are monitoring the situation as it unfolds at the national level, as well as the state and local environment, to determine how best to move forward in the longer term. In the meantime, we will support the CWS Poughkeepsie office through the national office’s resources, albeit on a reduced level that reflects the current caseload and presence.
What can we do now to help support refugee resettlement?
· Please continue to express your support for refugee resettlement to your policymakers. Call your Senators and Members of Congress now to tell them you support refugee resettlement—communicate why it’s important to you and your expectations of them as your elected representative(s). For more information and a sample script, visitGreaterAs1.org/ACT.
· Consider making a contribution to CWS’ emergency appeal, which offers critical support to newly arrived refugees who are just starting to rebuild their lives in the US; provides legal assistance through CWS’ offices nationwide to refugees and immigrants whose families have been separated due to the Executive Order; and expands our grassroots advocacy efforts to push back on the Executive Order and to increase the ceiling for refugee admissions.
· Learn more and join CWS’ new homebase for refugee solidarity and advocacy—#GreaterAs1—at www.greateras1.org for more ideas on ways you can get involved and help refugees right now.
Again, we thank you for your support and your efforts on behalf of refugees. I believe that the U.S. model of rigorous refugee screening, structured resettlement programs through well-organized and experienced agencies like CWS, and partnering with local communities continues to well serve the interests of all parties. We look forward to continuing our work with you in the future!