Humanitarian groups in San Diego are wondering how the new Trump administration might impact their programs.
This week, several organizations gathered for discussions on refugee policies. On Thursday, the discussion focused on "Refugees in America – Post Election.”
The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program will help bring 110,000 people into the United States this year, said David Murphy, executive director of the International Rescue Committee. Last year, 3,500 refugees settled in San Diego.
Murphy says the program has enjoyed bi-partisan support, but is concerned what the new administration might bring.
“My hope is we will see the refugee resettlement program continue, and for the last week, we’ve actually seen an outpouring of support from local San Diegans,” he said.
Even though, the refugees typically go through a year’s-long security vetting process, Murphy is concerned refugees are being lumped in with other groups because of unsettling rhetoric during the presidential campaign.
“The refuges, because of political dialogue have been deemed unsafe, they’re not security vetted, they’re all terrorists, when, in fact, they are people fleeing from terrorism," Murphy said.
Though it remains to be seen what, if anything, will happen to the resettlement program, others humanitarian leaders are encouraging citizens to be pro-active and open to welcoming refugees.
“Our generation has a chance to say we reject hateful rhetoric. We stand by refugees. Or they’re going to be spectators in a time where we scapegoat Muslims,” said Ramla Sahid, executive direction of the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans.