Rep. Omar Statement on Biden Refugee and Border Wall Promise
April 7, 2021
WASHINGTON—Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) released the following statement after refugee families urged President Biden to follow through on his promise to increase refugee admissions limitations and reports that the Administration is considering restarting construction of a border wall. Recently, more than 715 refugees had their flights canceled to the United States after being notified by the State Department that travel would be suspended until President Biden sets a new target for refugee admissions.
"'Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’
“These words are not just etched into the Statue of Liberty—they are a bedrock of who we aspire to be as a nation, a nation that stands as a beacon of hope for millions fleeing violence and oppression around the world. The Trump Administration sought to rip those ideals to shreds—erecting a wall to keep the world out and limiting refugee admissions to historic lows.
“We cannot and we must not fall victims to politics of fear and hatred that drives the far-right. Joe Biden ran on a promise to increase the refugee cap. When meeting with the Administration, I have repeatedly urged them to follow through on this promise, yet the Administration has yet to reverse the harsh limitations of refugee admissions set by the previous administration. Because of this, hundreds of refugees had their hopes dashed last month as we cancelled their flights to the United States. As a refugee, I know the difficulties of going through the vetting process and can’t imagine the disappointment felt by too many as we postponed their ability to call the United States their home. Abandoning those who fled unthinkable atrocities does not align with the values we hold as Americans—nor does it align with the promises set by this administration. President Biden must follow through on his promise and issue a Presidential Directive to immediately increase the refugee cap.
“I am also deeply disturbed by reports that the Administration is considering further construction of Donald Trump’s border wall. The President vowed ‘not another foot’ of Trump’s hateful wall during the campaign, accurately underscoring that immigrants are seeking asylum at legal ports of entry. The wall is a monument of xenophobia and hatred that does nothing to address the root causes of migration and asylum claims—violence and unrest in the countries of origin that the United States has often exacerbated.
“We have a chance to restore compassion and humanity for the little girls and boys who dream of a life of opportunity in the United States of America. I should know. I was one.”