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Join State and Local Officials Across the Nation Calling on President Biden to Strengthen the Refugee Resettlement Program

The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), a program established with strong bipartisan support, is a vital legal pathway to safety for refugees. Since 1980, this program has offered a chance for people facing persecution because of their political opinions, religious beliefs, race, or nationality the opportunity to begin their lives anew and enjoy the freedoms we value in safety. 

The majority of Americans across the country and across party lines support refugee resettlement, and many have shown this support by welcoming people seeking safety. Refugees bring immense contributions to our communities and economy. Over the last fifteen years, refugees contributed $124 billion to the American economy, including nearly $28 billion in taxes in 2021 alone. As many communities struggle with labor shortages in key professions like teachers, nurses, and doctors, refugees have a critical role to play in bringing needed talent and expertise in these professions and beyond.  

An unprecedented 110 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide, 40 percent of whom are children. Among them, the UN Refugee Agency estimates that 2.4 million refugees need urgent access to resettlement this year, but less than one percent are afforded this chance. When the United States takes a leadership role in welcoming refugees, it is not only doing the morally right thing but also building goodwill among partner nations, advancing our foreign policy and national security interests. 

While efforts have been made to rebuild USRAP over the last four years, we are at a critical inflection point. It is incredibly important that state and local elected leaders across the country  let the Administration know how valuable refugee resettlement is to the vitality of American communities. Now is the time to make your voices heard and call on President Biden to strengthen the U.S. resettlement program to improve our capacity to welcome, enable our communities to more nimbly provide humanitarian protection, and preserve the USRAP for years to come. It is equally essential that the federal government increase its support of cities and states to coordinate improved services and support for newcomers.

In anticipation of the President’s annual consultation and decision on how many refugees the United States plans to resettle in the upcoming fiscal year, this bipartisan, unbranded letter emphasizes how vital refugees are to our communities and why we must continue to safeguard this critical pathway for people seeking safety by ensuring that USRAP can remain robust and sustainable for years to come.


If you are a STATE OR LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIAL, you can sign onto this letter here. The letter text is below, and this page will be periodically updated to reflect new signatories. 

If you are a CONSTITUENT, you can contact your state and local elected and ask them to sign the letter here.

The deadline to sign the letter is August 23rd, 2024.  Please contact info@refugeeadvocacylab.org with any questions. 

All signatories will be provided the final PDF of the letter, along with a short toolkit on how to amplify your support, including sample tweets and press release language.

Letter Text



President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As elected leaders of our communities at all levels of state and local government, we write today to express our strong support for welcoming and resettling refugees in the United States. We commend efforts to rebuild the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) over the last four years, and we call on your Administration to take steps to preserve and strengthen this progress and ensure the program remains robust, nimble, and sustainable for years to come. 

Representing elected officials from both sides of the aisle, we affirm our commitment to safeguarding USRAP and American values of welcoming people seeking safety. USRAP was formally established by Congress in 1980, enjoying broad bipartisan support. Over the years, the program has welcomed people facing persecution because of their political opinions, religious beliefs, race, or nationality who now enjoy and uphold the freedoms we hold dear in this country. 

As our experience with welcoming Afghans and Ukrainians has shown, U.S. leadership on protecting refugees not only provides a lifeline for those fleeing war, violence, and persecution, but also creates goodwill among partner nations, advancing our foreign policy, diplomatic, and national security interests. At the local level, we have seen firsthand how refugees enrich our communities – strengthening our economies and civic institutions. Refugees also bring immense contributions to our economies. According to a recent Health and Human Services report, refugees and asylees contributed a $124 billion net positive fiscal impact to our economy. Our communities have benefited directly from their contributions: refugees establish businesses, fill labor shortages, and enrich our cultural and social fabric, ensuring our states – and country – remain economically and socially vibrant. 

The international community faces a forced migration crisis of historic proportions. We must offer bold leadership and innovative solutions and join other nations by doing our part. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) recently reported that an unprecedented 110 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide, 40 percent of whom are children. Among them, UNHCR estimates that 2.4 million refugees need urgent access to resettlement this year, but less than one percent are afforded this chance. 

We continually hear from our constituents that they believe in and support refugee resettlement. From greeting refugee families at the airport to assisting with English language classes or navigating bus lines, our communities stand for welcome. 

As state and local elected leaders, we aspire to make our communities places where newcomers have an equal chance to contribute and thrive. We have championed policies such as  workforce development studies and reducing unnecessary occupational barriers so that skilled refugees can more easily join the workforce. As many communities struggle with labor shortages in key professions like teachers, nurses, and doctors, refugees have a critical role to play in filling staffing gaps.  

Together, we can and must do more. With greater federal support, our communities stand ready to welcome refugees who want to restart their lives in safety. Safeguarding USRAP requires a multi-year commitment to invest in the refugee resettlement infrastructure to ensure the program remains sustainable for years to come. Our cities and states need greater coordination and support from the federal government so that newcomers have access to programs and services that help them succeed in their new homes. We are calling on your administration to double down on the investment of resources necessary to build a robust resettlement program that can withstand external pressures, refugee emergencies, and political transitions. 

We are better and stronger because of refugees and their families. As state and local elected officials, we call on you to protect our nation’s standing as a leader in welcoming refugees by ensuring the refugee resettlement program is resourced, robust, and sustainable for years to come. 

We hope that you will consider our strong desire to welcome refugees as you make your determination.

Sincerely,

Alabama

Corey Martin, Council Member, Fairhope

Alaska

Matthew Claman, State Senator, Anchorage
Elvi Gray-Jackson, State Senator, Alaska
Jesse Kiehl, State Senator, Juneau

Arizona

Lela Alston, State Senator, Phoenix
Fern Benally, County Supervisor, Navajo County
Jenn Duff, Council Member, Mesa
Adelita Grijalva, Board of Supervisors Chair, Tucson
Rex Scott, County Supervisor, Pima County

Arkansas

Harrie Farrow, Justice of the Peace, Carroll County

California

Edi Birsa, Mayor, Concord
Barbara Coler, Mayor, Fairfax
Thomas Wong, Mayor, Monterey Park
Mary Adams, County Supervisor, Monterey County
Wendy Root Askew, County Supervisor/Commissioner, Monterey County
Michael Brownrigg, Council Member, Burlingame
Glenn Church, County Supervisor, Monterey County
David Cohen, Council Member, San Jose
Jenalee Dawson, Council Member, Suisun City
Johnathan Ryan Hernandez, Council Member, Santa Ana
Lindsey P. Horvath, Supervisor, Los Angeles County
Mark Humbert, Council Member, Berkeley
Daniel Goldstein, Council Member, Hayward
Dan Kalb, Council Member, Oakland
Jenny Kassan, Council Member, Fremont
Richard Mehlinger, Council Member, Sunnyvale
Devin Murphy, Council Member/Mayor Emeritus, Pinole
Eric Nakano, Council Member, San Dimas
Dennis Pocekay, Council Member, Petaluma
Chris Ricci, Council Member, Modesto
Vincent Sarmiento, County Supervisor, Orange County
Kathleen Treseder, Council Member, Irvine
Omar Torres, Council Member, San Jose
Benjamin Vazquez, Council Member, Santa Ana
Artemio Villegas, Council Member, Madera
Stephen Zollman, Vice Mayor, Sebastopol

Colorado

Shawna Ambrose, Council Member, Arvada
Loren Boyett, Council Member, Fort Morgan
Wendy Buxton-Andrade, County Commissioner, Prowers County
Tricia Canonico, Council Member, Fort Collins
Isabel Cruz, Council Member, Lakewood
Paloma Delgadillo, Council Member, Broomfield
Nancy Henjum, Council Member, Colorado Springs
Bruce Leslie, Council Member, Broomfield
Roger Low, Council Member, Lakewood
Kenny Nguyen, Council Member, Broomfield
Sarah Parady, Council Member, Denver

Connecticut

Raghib Allie-Brennan, State Representative, Bethel
Karen Camporeale, Board of Representatives Member District 18, Stamford
Nermin Miki Duric, Council Member, Wethersfield
Kate Farrar, State Representative, West Hartford/Newington
Anne Hughes, State Representative, Easton
Jerald Lentini, Director, Manchester
David Michel, State Representative, Stamford
Nathan Simpson, Alderman, New Britain

Delaware

District of Columbia

Brianne K. Nadeau, Council Member

Florida

Anna Eskamani, State Representative, Orlando
Dianne Hart, State Representative, Tampa
William Hodgkins, Commissioner, Pembroke Park

Georgia

Solomon Adesanya, State Representative, Marietta/Atlanta
Liliana Bakhtiari, Council Member, Atlanta
Dana Barrett, County Commissioner, Fulton County
Yterenickia Bell, Council Member, Clarkston
Kristy Chance, Council Member, Kingsland
Amir Farokhi, Council Member, Atlanta
Lydia Glaize, State Representative House District 67, Fairburn
Kim Jackson, State Senator, Stone Mountain
Marvin Lim, State Representative, Norcross
Nabilah Islam Parkes, State Senator, Duluth
Edward “Ted” Terry, County Commissioner, DeKalb County

Hawaii

Andrew Takuya Garrett,  State Representative, Honolulu
Amy Perruso, State Representative, Wahiawa

Idaho

Melissa Wintrow, State Senator, Boise

Illinois

Brandon Johnson, Mayor, Chicago
Marc Ayers, County Board Member District 12, Sangamon County
Mary Cozad, County Board Member, Dekalb County
Karen Hoffman, Council Member, Rockford
Becky Hruby, Council Member, Geneva
Lindsey LaPointe, State Representative, Chicago
Stewart Ogilvie, County Board Member Representative District 4, Dekalb County
Kevin Olickal, State Representative, Chicago
Abdur Razzaque, Council Member, Moline
Eleanor Revelle, Council Member, Evanston
William Rose, Council Member, Rockford
Kai Swanson, County Commissioner, Rock Island County
Andre Vasquez, Alderperson, Chicago

Indiana

Isak Asare, Council Member, Bloomington
Jesse Brown, Council Member, Indianapolis
Alex Burton, Council Member, Evansville
Monica Casanova, Township Trustee, Lafayette
Sheila Klinker, State Representative, Lafayette
Isabel Piedmont-Smith, Council Member, Bloomington
Hopi Stosberg, Council Member, Bloomington
L. Kate Wiltz, Council Member, Bloomington

Iowa

Cyan Bossou, Council Member, Ottumwa
John Brantner, Council Member, Shenandoah
Rick Just, State Senator, Boise
C Michael Knudson, Council Member, Coralville
Josh Mandelbaum, Council Member, Des Moines
Matt McCoy, County Supervisor, Polk County
Ann McDonough, County Supervisor, Dubuque County

Kansas

Sandy Pickert, State Representative, Wichita
Rick Roitman, Council Member, Wellington
Matthew Wells, City Commissioner, Fort Scott

Kentucky

Daniel Grossberg, State Representative, Louisville
Nima Kulkarni, State Representative, Louisville
Jodie Raymond, State Representative, Louisville
Sarah Stalker, State Representative, Louisville
Jeronimo Vasquez, County Supervisor, Louisville
Lisa Willner, State Representative, Louisville

Louisiana

Maine

Misha Pride, Mayor, South Portland
Pious Ali, At-Large Councilor/Mayor Pro-Tempore, Portland
Marshall Archer, Council Member, Saco
Joseph Baldacci, State Senator, Bangor
Kaitlin Callahan, Council Member, Rockland
Nathan Davis, Council Member, Rockland
Liam LaFountain, City Councilor, Biddeford
Megan Mansfield-Pryor, Council Member, Bath
William Pluecker, State Representative, Warren
Anna Trevorrow, Council Member, Portland

Maryland

Julie Palakovich Carr, Delegate, Rockville
Lorig Charkoudian, Delegate, Annapolis
Cindy Dyballa, City Council Member, Takoma Park
Diane Foster, Council Member, Taneytown
Brooke Lierman, Delegate, Baltimore
Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Delegate, Annapolis
Lisa Rodvien, Council Member, Annapolis
Sheila Ruth, Delegate, Baltimore
Danny Schaible, Council Member, Hyattsville
Richard Smith, Council Member, Riverdale Park

Massachusetts

Tania Fernandes Anderson, Council Member, Boston
Zac Bears, Council Member, Medford
Kyle Davis, Council Member, Salem
Andreae Downs, Council Member, Newton
Tony Palomba, Council Member, Watertown
Ronald Schneider, Select Board Member, Tyngsboro
Maria Scibelli Greenberg, Council Member, Newton
Danielle Spang, Council Member, Beverly

Michigan

Terrance Augustine, County Commissioner, Grand Ledge
Erin Byrnes, State Representative, Dearborn/Dearborn Heights
Dan Carter, Township Trustee, Ada
Stephanie Chang, State Senator, Detroit
Karen Cunningham, County Commissioner, Frankfort
Ivan Diaz, County Commissioner, Kent County
Carol Glanville, State Representative, Grand Rapids
Brandon Haskell, County Commissioner, Lansing
Jonathan C. Kinloch, County Commissioner, Wayne County
Mark Meadows, Council Member, East Lansing
Michael Radtke Jr., Council Member, Sterling Heights
Gabriela Santiago-Romero, Council Member, Detroit
Derek Shiels, Council Member, Petoskey
Steven Sneideman, Council Member/Trustee, Canton
Monica Sparks, County Commissioner, Kent County
Jessica Ann Tyson, City Commissioner, Kentwood
Regina Weiss, State Representative, Lansing

Minnesota

Jason Chavez, Council Member, Minneapolis
Thomas Fabel, Council Member, Arden Hills
Sandra Feist, State Representative, New Brighton
Irene Fernando, County Commissioner, Hennepin County
Hwa Jeong Kim, Council Member, Saint Paul
John Marty, State Senator, Roseville
Dave Pinto, State Representative, Saint Paul

Mississippi

Chokwe Lumumba, Mayor, Jackson

Missouri

Rodney Grady, Council Member/President Pro-Tempore, Black Jack

Montana

Mary Caferro, State Representative, Helena
Daniel Carlino, Council Member, Missoula
Ryan Hunter, Council Member, Kalispell
Michelle Mize, Council Member, Laurel

Nebraska

Roger Garcia, County Commissioner, Douglas County
Christa Yoakum, County Commissioner, Lancaster County

Nevada

Howard Watts, Assembly Member / State Representative, Las Vegas

New Hampshire

Susan Almy, State Representative, Lebanon
Em Friedrichs, Council Member, Durham
Mary Sullivan Heath, State Representative, Manchester
David Paige, State Representative, Conway
Rosemarie Rung, State Representative, Merrimack
Carry Spier, State Representative, Nashua
Devin Wilkie, Council Member, Lebanon

New Jersey

Patrick Antonetti, Council Member, Lincoln Park
Brandon Bernier, Council Member, Roselle
Theresa Bonner, Council Member, Somerville
Charnette Frederic, Council Member, Irvington
Devra Keenan, Council Member, Skillman
Mia Sacks, Council President, Princeton
James Solomon, Council Member, Jersey City

New Mexico

Alma Castro, Council Member, Santa Fe
Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, State Senator, Albuquerque
Juan Oropesa, Council Member, Roswell 

New York

Benjamin Baskin, Trustee, Ballston Spa
Jennifer Belton, Council Member, Hudson
Robert Dennison, Council Member, Kingston
Patricia Fahy, Assemblymember, Albany
Andrew Gounardes, State Senator, Brooklyn
Shekar Krishnan, Council Member, New York
Stanley Martin, Council Member, Rochester
Greg McCollough, County Legislator, Ulster County
John T. McDonald III, State Representative, Albany
Glenn Miller, Council Member, Vestal
Cliff Olney, Council Member, Watertown
Gustavo Rivera, State Senator, Bronx
John Trustee, Village Trustee, Wappingers Falls
Gregory Young, County Supervisor, Fulton 

North Carolina

Cyril Jefferson, Mayor, High Point
Eric Ager, State Representative, Fairview
Deborah Butler, State Representative, Wilmington
Heidi Carter, County Commissioner, Durham County
Elyse Craver, Commissioner, Hope Mills
George Dunlap, County Commissioner, Mecklenburg County
Jane Harrison, Council Member, Raleigh
Pricey Harrison, State Representative, Greensboro
Wendy Jacobs, County Commissioner, Durham
Christina Jones, Council Member, Raleigh
Mujtaba Mohammed, State Senator, Charlotte
Lindsey Prather, State Representative, Candler
Renee Price, State Representative, Hillsborough
Kim Roney, Council Member, Asheville
Maggie Ullman, Council Member, Asheville
Michael Woods, Council Member, Elon

North Dakota

Tim Mathern, State Senator, Fargo

Ohio

Justin M. Bibb, Mayor, Cleveland
Nick Komives, Council Member, Toledo
Sam Melden, Council Member, Toledo
Nancy Moore, Council Member, Shaker Heights
Theresa Morris, Council Member, Toledo
Carla Thompson, Council Member, Lima

Oklahoma

JoBeth Hamon, Council Member, Oklahoma City
Joshua Setzer, Council Member, Guymon

Oregon

Alexandria Dreher, Council Member, Cottage Grove
Zach Hudson, State Representative, Troutdale
Adam Khosroabadi, Council Member, MIlwaukee
Carol McKiel, Council Member, Monmouth
Neil Olsen, Council Member, Central Point
Deb Patterson, State Senator, Salem
Nancy Wyse, County Commissioner, Corvallis

Pennsylvania

Ed Gainey, Mayor, Pittsburgh
Rock Copeland, County Councilman, Erie County
Elizabeth Fielder, State Representative, Philadelphia
Dan Frankel, State Representative, Pittsburgh
Carfole Kenney, Township Supervisor, Montgomery
Tarik Khan, State Representative, Philadelphia
Timothy McGonigle, County Commissioner, Mercer
Matthew Moon, Council Member/ Borough Council President, Gettysberg
Nicolas O’Rourke, Council Member, Philadelphia
Anito Prizio, Council Member, Pittsburgh
Erika Strassburger, Council Member, Pittsburgh
Brittany Swartzwelder, Council Member, Pittsburgh
Barb Warwick, Council Member, Pittsburgh

Puerto Rico

Rhode Island

Sam Bell, State Senator, Providence
Kevin Lowther, Council Member, Westerly
Ana Quezada, State Senator, Providence

South Carolina

Tiffany Johnson-Wilson, Council Member, Summerville
Tabatha Strother, Council Member, Chester

South Dakota

Reynold Nesiba, State Senator, Sioux Falls

Tennessee

Aftyn Behn, State Representative, Nashville
Richard Donnell, Council Member, Jackson
Jenny Hill, Council Member, Chattanooga

Texas

Salman Bhojani, State Representative, Euless
Lesley Briones, County Commissioner, Houston
Joe Corcoran, Council Member, Richardson
Sergio Coronado, County Commissioner, El Paso County
Adrian Garcia, County Commissioner, Harris County
Josey Garcia, State Representative, San Antonio
Julie Johnson, State Representative, Farmers Branch
Christina Morales, State Representative, Houston
Penny Morales Shaw, State Representative, Houston
Edward Pollard, Council Member, Houston
Jesus Rivas, Council Member, Forest Hill
Jon Rosenthal, State Representative, Houston
Tiffany D. Thomas, Council Member, Houston
Gene Wu, State Representative, Houston

Utah

Gay Lynn Bennion, State Representative, Cottonwood Heights
Nate Blouin, State Senator, Millcreek
Dan Dugan, Council Member, Salt Lake City
Hannah Gorski, State Representative, Ogden
Dannielle Larkin, Council Member, St George
Eva Lopez Chavez, Council Member, Salt Lake City
Darin Mano, Council Member, Salt Lake City
Victoria Petro, Council Member, Salt Lake City
Alejandro Puy, Council Member, Salt Lake City
Florence Sadler, Council Member, Fruit Heights
Chris Wharton, Council Member, Salt Lake City
Sarah Young, Council Member, Salt Lake City

Vermont

Sarita Austin, State Representative, Colchester
Michelle Bos-Lun, State Representative, Bellows Falls
Jim Carroll, State Representative, Bennington
Robin Chesnut-Tangerman, State Representative, Middletown Springs
Thomas Chittenden, State Senator, South Burlington
Troy Headrick, State Representative, Burlington
Carter Neubieser, Ward 1 City Councilor, Burlington
Laura Sibilia, State Representative, Dover
Anna Tadio, Council Member, Rutland

Virginia

Deanna Reed, Mayor, Harrisonburg
Lashrecse Aird, State Senator, Petersburg
Elizabeth Bennett-Parker, Delegate, Alexandria
John Chapman, Council Member, Alexandria
Rae Cousins, Delegate, Richmond
Laura Dent, Vice Mayor, Harrisonburg
Ghazala Hashmi, State Senator, Richmond
Jeff McKay, Board of Supervisors Chairman, Fairfax
Shelly Simonds, Delegate, Newport News
Vivian Watts, Delegate, Annandale 

Washington

Jenne Alderks, Council Member, Bothell
Peter Agabi, Council Member, Tumwater
Sarah Arndt, Council Member, Woodinville
Jorge L. Barón, Council Member, Seattle
Richard Brocksmith, Council Member, Mount Vernon
Beth Doglio, State Representative, Olympia
Amy Howard, Deputy Mayor, Port Townsend
Carol Kufeldt, Council Member, Duvall
Marko Liias, State Senator, Edmonds
Cathy Moore, Council Member, Seattle
Owen Rowe, Council Member, Port Townsend
John Six, Council Member, Chehalis
My-Linh Thai, State Representative, Bellevue

West Virginia

Emmett Pepper, Council Member, Charleston

Wisconsin

Emily Anderson, Council Member, Eau Claire
Gaile Burchill, County Board Supervisor, Sauk
Yogesh Chalaw, County Board Supervisor, Dane County
Yousef Hasan, Council Member, Franklin
Dana Johnson, County Board Supervisor, Outagamie County
Kirk Lund, County Board Supervisor, Jefferson County
Larry Mboga, Council Member, Eau Claire
Joshua Miller, Council Member, Eau Claire
Garner Moffat, Council Member, Superior
Amanda Peterson, Village Vice President, Oregon
Andrew Rockman, County Board Supervisor, Portage
Marsha Rummel, Council Member, Madison
Steven Shea, County Supervisor, Milwaukee County
Scott Spiker, Council Member, Milwaukee
R.J. Sutterlin, County Supervisor, Rock County

Wyoming

Mike Yin, State Representative, Jackson

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