Posted on October 10, 2017 in Press Releases
For immediate release
September 27, 2017

AAI Statement on Dramatic Cut to Refugee Admissions

Arab American Institute Executive Director Maya Berry issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s decision to reduce refugee admissions.

We are deeply disappointed by the Administration’s decision to dramatically lower refugee admissions, especially at a time where there is such great need in the world. 

The Trump Administration has refused to accept any more than 45,000 this year, half of the previous administration’s plans and counter to the recommendation of refugee resettlement organizations, and  counterterrorism and military leaders. This decision is despite the United Nations’ determination that there are presently more refugees in the world than in the wake of World War II. At that time, the US accepted more than 650,000 refugees from Europe.

Many refugees to the United States have quickly become net earners, homeowners, reliable taxpayers and often employers. To shut our doors to those who need it most, those who have worked the hardest, given up everything, and risked their lives to reach our shores is a shame and a stain on our national conscience. By doing this we are sending the wrong message to the world and to our allies.                                                                                                                                                                             

For generations, refugees have exemplified the spirit of America. Indeed, since 1975 the US has accepted over 3 million refugees fleeing persecution and choosing freedom by risking it all to build a safer and better life. Our history is ripe with refugees turned American heroes. With this move, we deny ourselves that opportunity and give into bigotry. Shame on us for doing so. 

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Founded in 1985, the Arab American Institute (AAI) is a nonprofit organization committed to the civic and political empowerment of Americans of Arab descent.  AAI provides policy, research and public affairs services to support a broad range of community activities. For more information please visit