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Robust Refugee Programs Aid National Security

Note: This brief is part of a series of papers, Insider Perspectives: National Security and Immigration, exploring the intersection between national security and immigration issues. The papers are aimed at helping to facilitate constructive conversations that will lead to bipartisan efforts to modernize our immigration system. We begin with the premise that our nation’s immigration system can, and should, treat immigrants with dignity and compassion, while serving our national security interests. The author is a senior advisor to the National Immigration Forum on national security matters and a former DHS Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention during the Trump administration.  

By Elizabeth Neumann

Restoring and strengthening the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) is critical for our national security. The United States has a storied history as a global leader and beacon of hope in providing refuge to individuals fleeing persecution. Our moral and humanitarian leadership in welcoming refugees sets an example and encourages other countries to do so as well. It is time to reaffirm the long-standing principle that admitting refugees to the United States is in our national interest. Admitting refugees has not only a foreign policy benefit but an economic one as well. Together these benefits strengthen our national security.

This paper examines how the United States’ posture toward immigrants, asylees, and refugees during the Trump administration has damaged our nation’s security. It provides recommendations to strengthen the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and re-engage with our international allies to address the growing numbers of forcibly displaced persons while also addressing critical national security concerns.

You can read the full paper here.

Watch a discussion among the author Elizabeth Neumann, Terron Sims, military veteran and author, and Matthew Soerens, U.S. director of church mobilization & advocacy, World Relief on the paper and why a robust refugee resettlement program is critical to both upholding American values and strengthening national security.

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