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A Letter to President Donald Trump

Dear President Donald Trump,

The Yale Refugee Project, an undergraduate group of students dedicated to supporting refugee resettlement in New Haven through friendship and community building, urges you to uphold the United States Refugee Act of 1980, the 1951 Refugee Convention, and to continue welcoming refugees, asylum-seekers, and immigrants to America.

One of our country’s founding beliefs is freedom of religion, as reflected in the First Amendment of the Constitution. Further, America has been historically committed to providing refuge not only to asylum-seekers fleeing persecution and violence, but also to immigrants seeking economic empowerment like your mother, Mary Trump.

Imposing a temporary moratorium on the admission of refugees from Syria and majority-Muslim nations is alarming to us not only because it halts legal immigration, but because it discriminates against immigrants based on their religion and nationality. In our eyes, this kind of discrimination is inconsistent and even in direct conflict with our country’s century-old commitment to providing asylum to those in need. We urge you to honor the inscription on the Statute of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and implore you to act in the tradition of Ellis Island rather than in the tradition of Angel Island and Guantánamo Bay.

We cannot claim to be the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” if we, in the face of fear, close our doors to families whose lives may otherwise be lost. We have a moral obligation to help the world’s most vulnerable people. We hope you will accept the invitation to visit New Haven’s IRIS - Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services and meet the refugees who have sought refuge here and have become patriotic members of our country.

The Yale Refugee Project

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