No room for refugees?

As the world refugee crisis swells, Pres. Donald Trump has capped the number of refugees that the U.S. will accept at 45,000 — the lowest level since the refugee resettlement program was established 37 years ago. In 2016, Pres. Obama set the cap at 110,000. Trump calls it the “America First Refugee Program,” evoking the name of the openly anti-Semitic WWII-era America First Committee. Mark Hetfield is president and CEO of HIAS, which was founded as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in 1881. HIAS is the world’s oldest organization dedicated to refugees.  Hetfield has led the transformation to a global agency that assists and resettles refugees of all faiths and ethnicities and is a major implementing partner of the United Nations Refugee Agency and the U.S. Department of State. In February 2017, under his leadership, HIAS became the first and only national refugee resettlement agency to file a court challenge against the Trump Administration and its executive order implementing a Muslim and refugee ban, a challenge which led to an injunction against the order. He discusses the impact of Trump’s refugee bans and his reaction to the protest movement that rose up to challenge Muslim bans. (September 27, 2017 broadcast)

Mark Hetfield, president & CEO, HIAS



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