Progressive Groups Ask Pelosi for Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Who Supports ‘Robust’ Refugee Program

Venezuelan citizens cross the Simon Bolivar International Bridge from San Antonio del Tachira in Venezuela to the Norte de Santander province of Colombia.GEORGE CASTELLANOS/AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of progressive groups on Tuesday sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other Democrat leaders to ask them to appoint a new House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman who supports their agenda, which includes allowing an average of 95,000 refugees into the United States per year “at minimum.”

“The world is currently experiencing the greatest forced displacement crisis in history, yet the United States is failing to meet its international obligations let alone provide global leadership,” the letter said, adding:

We ask that the next HFAC Chair be publicly committed to fully repealing the Trump Administration’s Muslim, African, refugee, and asylum bans, restore access to asylum, and support a robust refugee resettlement program, at minimum returning to the historic average goal of 95,000 per year.

Their letter said it is “essential” that the Trump Administration reopen the refugee resettlement program and that Congress adequately fund the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and the Office of Refugee Resettlement to meet the needs of refugees during the COVID-19 crisis.

The groups also said the next chair must “also consider” the role of U.S. policy in creating the “refugee crisis.”

It said:

U.S. support for military engagement and regime change have led to large migrant outflows in places like Honduras, Libya, and Afghanistan, among others. Ongoing U.S. support and training for Honduran security forces, which have a well-documented track record of human rights abuses, has exacerbated that country’s migration crisis. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) triggered the displacement of millions of Mexican family farmers and spurred major out-migration by contributing to persistently high poverty and stagnant economic growth in Mexico. The next chair should be committed to exploring policy tools to address the root causes of the migration crisis.

The letter also calls for a number of other principles for the next chairman to uphold that “advances the bold, progressive foreign policy that this country deserves.”

The progressive groups include the Justice Democrats, who helped elect the far left Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Their letter comes after the defeat of Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), outgoing chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a primary election.


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