Standing with Americans as they Rise for Refuge

The Canadian Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holders Association

August 1, 201

The American Coalition, “We Are All America”, and its partner organizations across the United States are mobilizing for a national day of action on August 3. The purpose of this initiative is to raise awareness about the situation of refugees and the United States’ withdrawal from refugee protection at a time when the global refugee crisis demands strong leadership, in particular from countries that are well positioned to provide protection.

The Canadian Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holders Association (SAH Association) is particularly concerned about news that the U.S. government may be proposing zero resettlement for next year. This move would follow U.S. cuts in recent years from an average resettlement number of 90,000 to 30,000 or less this year. The impact of such a cut down to zero would be devastating. The UN Refugee Agency predicts that global resettlement needs in 2020 will rise to over 1.4 million persons. In 2018, less than 7% of those in need of resettlement were actually resettled, due to a shortage of resettlement spaces offered by countries. A zero resettlement scenario in the United States in 2020 could mean that the percentage of those in need who find resettlement spaces might fall below 4%. This would be a failure of the international community as a whole, resulting in the loss of more human life.

In such a situation, pressure on Canada to accept additional UN-referred refugees for resettlement would increase. Members of the SAH Association and other private sponsors are already contributing in major ways to providing additional protection for refugees as they resettle 19,000 Privately-Sponsored Refugees and 1,650 Blended Visa Office-Referred Refugees that Canada plans to admit in 2019. In contrast, the Canadian government plans to resettle only 9,300 Government-Assisted Refugees this year.

At a time when refugee resettlement is coming under severe pressure in the United States, the SAH Association calls on the Canadian government to continue to show global leadership in resettlement and serve as a model for other countries by significantly raising its target for Government-Assisted Refugees in 2020. We also call on the Canadian government to urge the U.S. government to commit to an expanded, not restricted, resettlement program.

We call on all Canadians to stand in solidarity with Americans rising for refuge, while at the same time continuing to voice support for refugees here at home. Resettlement is a life-saving tool for refugees, and as a global leader on refugee issues, Canada must strive to enhance access to this tool both nationally and on the international stage.