In the coming weeks, the Democratic and Republican political parties in the United States will formally decide who they’ll be nominating to run the race for the presidency as the 2020 election cycle intensifies.
The International Rescue Committee is calling on all candidates running for public office in the U.S. to address three key issues that affect millions of lives both in the U.S. and around the globe.
Rebuilding refugee resettlement in the U.S.
For decades, political leaders of both parties have supported refugee resettlement programmes in the U.S. They’ve understood that resettling refugees not only saves lives - but also benefits the country.
In the U.S., refugees are performing essential services during the pandemic, even as their communities are disproportionately impacted by the virus. Over 15 percent of refugees work in the healthcare industry, and many others hold essential roles in food processing, grocery stores, and restaurants.
Despite the overwhelming evidence that refugees enrich their communities, the Trump administration reduced the cap on refugee resettlement to just 18,000 people in 2020, the lowest in the history of the modern resettlement programme.
We’re asking all candidates running for office to call for the rebuilding of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Programme and for the country to commit to welcoming at least 95,000 refugees annually.
Protecting the rights of asylum seekers
People request asylum because they are fleeing violence or persecution in their home countries.They have a legal right to do so. Today, many asylum seekers at the U.S. border are traveling to escape violence in northern Central America: Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Gang violence is rampant in the region.
Policies have forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico to make their case. In March, the U.S. Administration moved to turn away all non-citizens at the border—with no opportunity to request asylum.
Blocking asylum seekers from entering the U.S. sends people back into danger and is in violation of domestic and international laws, even in these unprecedented times.
U.S. policy decisions during the pandemic should be informed by public health best practices. Current asylum policies do not pass that test. Instead, they put asylum seekers in additional danger while doing nothing to make the U.S. safer.
We’re asking all candidates running for office to uphold asylum protections in accordance with domestic and international law and public health guidance. Candidates should also support Central American countries to reduce the violence that is driving people from their homes, to respond to their needs, and to eventually make life safe and livable in northern Central America.
Responding to COVID-19 globally
Countries in crisis with weak health systems need rapid international assistance, including supplies for detecting, preventing and treating the coronavirus.
The U.S. must work with the international community to strengthen the global health pandemic response, working collaboratively to address the immediate and longer-term consequences of COVID-19.
We’re asking all candidates running for office to call for an improvement in the U.S. response to COVID-19 in countries facing crises. We are asking them to embrace fast, sustainable and flexible financing to frontline humanitarian responders.