September 13, 2018 11:20 AM

Letter from Refugees and Former Refugees to President Trump

On September 13, 2018, refugees and former refugees from 31 states and Washington DC sent a letter to President Trump urging him to increase the refugee admissions cap to at least 75,000 in Fiscal Year 2019. Signatories were business owners, community leaders, faith leaders and elected officials, including Virginia Delegate Kathy Tran and Helena Montana Mayor Wilmot Collins.

Click Here to Listen to the We Are All America "Refugees Speak Out" National Press Call

September 13, 2018

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As former refugees, we are writing to respectfully urge you to resettle at least 75,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2019.

The United States is a generous country with a proud history of providing refuge to those fleeing violence and persecution. We have been personal beneficiaries of this generosity and give back daily to the country that welcomed us. For this reason, we must speak out strongly against reports that the administration may set a refugee admissions goal at 25,000 or even less.

We write to you today not only as people who were once forced to flee our countries of origin, but also as proud Americans. Former refugees are this nation’s business owners, workers, faith leaders, elected officials and valued members of our local communities.

The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program has successfully resettled more than 3 million refugees since 1975. According to a newly released report—A Return to First Principles: How Refugees Help to Define, Strengthen, and Revitalize the United States—refugees successfully integrate by virtually every metric, and they contribute significantly to local communities and to the nation’s economy. As a pillar of U.S. foreign policy, our nation’s resettlement program represents a standard of excellence that other countries look to as a touchstone for their own policies.

Despite the success of the resettlement program, last year the United States set its lowest ever resettlement goal, just 45,000 refugees, and we are on pace to receive less than half that number. Record-low refugee arrivals this year have prolonged family separation, and we are deeply concerned about the impact that further dismantling refugee resettlement will have on American communities and families. At a time when there are more than 25.4 million refugees worldwide and major refugee crises in countries including Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Venezuela, and Burma, our commitment to refugee resettlement must increase, not decrease.

We encourage you to continue to uphold the values inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty and return refugee resettlement to its honored place in our nation's history. Thank you for listening to the voices of former refugees as you determine the number of people our country will help in the coming year.



Tuan Do (Vietnam), Community Leader, Mobile


Abdefgabar Mohamdian (Sudan), Community Leader, Glendale

Abdule Rahman

Abdulkareem Mohamed (Sudan), Legal Aid, Phoenix

Adam Ali (Sudan), Community Leader, Glendale

Ali Touly,  Community Leader, Phoenix

Babikar Rasheed (Sudan), Aircraft Fueler, Phoenix

Bandak Lul (South Sudan), Human Rights Activist and Refugee Advocate, Phoenix

Bassam S Mahmood (Iraq), Tucson

Dai Emaim Sadig, Phoenix

Elamin Ahmed (Sudan), Community Leader, Phoenix

Eltayeb Abdalla (Sudan), Chandler

Sanja Tetaric (Former Yugoslavia), Mother and Social Worker, Phoenix

Teresa Flores, Phoenix


Amanda Gamban, Volunteer and Donations Coordinator, International Rescue Committee, San Jose

Asad Salihi (Afghanistan), Print Production Specialist, San Jose

Carmen Kcomt (Peru), Human Trafficking Advocate, San Diego

Dina Bostandzic

Fatima Barre (Somalia), San Jose

Janet Zan (Burma), Community Leader and Social Worker, Daly City

Lana Radosavljevic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), US Programs Director, The Refugee Center, San Francisco

M Khalid Faisal Habib (Afghanistan), Revenue Assurance Executive, Fremont

Mohammad Shafi Saboory (Afghanistan), Engineer, Sacramento

Muhibullah Archiwal (Afghanistan), Social Worker, Sacramento

Mustafa Musarat, Bay Point

Ram Khatiwoda, Sacramento

Shahpur Ahmad Amerkhail, Civil Engineer/Construction Manager, North Highlands

Thi Bui (Vietnam), Berkeley

Thu Quach (Vietnam), Health Professional, Berkeley

Wali Malakzay (Afghanistan), Community Leader, West Sacramento


Halah Jundi (Iraq), Refugee Case Manager, Denver

Kailash Rai (Bhutan), Refugee Case Manager, Denver


Abdullah Alsamraie (Iraq), Father, Chemist/Lab Manager, New Haven

Elvis Krcic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Business Owner, Wolcott

Grace Mahoundi (Democratic Republic of Congo), College Student, New Haven

Jelena Ivanis (Croatia), Medical Student, New Haven


Louren Gboeah (Liberia), Refugee Congress Delegate, Wilmington

District of Columbia

Bilal Askaryar (Afghanistan), Washington DC


Abdelrazak Ahmet (Chad), Jacksonville

Abibsso Landrou (Togo), Jacksonville

Alen Haleterld (Ethiopia), Student, Jacksonville

Ali Aljubouri (Iraq), Community Leader and Soccer Coach, Atlantic Beach

Ammar Aljabouri (Iraq), Truck Driver, Jacksonville

Basma Alawee (Iraq), Community Leader and Advocate, Atlantic Beach

Carlos Colfy (Jamaica), Jacksonville

Ding Deng (South Sudan), Jacksonville

Enock Bunane (Uganda), Student, Jacksonville

Eqbuand Evlul (Haiti), Jacksonville

Faisal Ahmadi (Afghanistan), Jacksonville

Gabrial Hmos, Student, Jacksonville

Hind Alajmi (Iraq), Mom/Cook, Jacksonville

Iddy Manzi (Tanzania), Student, Jacksonville

Isihaka Ann (Tanzania), Jacksonville

Jeffrey Thomas (Haiti) Student, Jacksonville

Jonathan Nestor (Haiti), Jacksonville

Julia Ostropolsky, Business Owner, Seminole

Keven Eulcoach (Haiti), Jacksonville

Loua Fassou (Guinea), Jacksonville

Malath Al Arnosi (Iraq), Artist, Jacksonville

Mohemmed Aljabouri (Iraq), Security Officer, Jacksonville

Muna Tek (Ethiopia), Jacksonville

Odomee Aj Ndyisaba (Tanzania), Jacksonville

Pierre Umimana Pumimana (Rwanda), Accountant, Jacksonville

Sahar Alhadithi

Selam Alemayehu (Ethiopia), Jacksonville

Shabaka Mathln (Rwanda), Jacksonville

Suhaila Zumot, Daytona Beach

Valentine Ihoduba (Nigeria), Jacksonville

Zewdeneh Kassa (Ethiopia), Student, Jacksonville


Aimee Zangandou (Rwanda), Community Leader and Program Manager, Lilburn

Meron Daniel (Ethiopia), Refugee Economic Empowerment, Clarkston


Valdir Solera Junior (Brazil), Community Leader, Wailuku


Slobodanka Hodzic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Program Director and Mother, Boise


Mohamed Osman Mohamed (Somalia), Youth Mentor and Corporate Responsibility Analyst, Indianapolis


Ann Agbiak (South Sudan), Graduate Student, Baton Rouge

Dauda Sesay (Sierra Leone), Community Leader and Refugee Congress Delegate, Baton Rouge


Ekhlas Ahmed (Sudan), Teacher, Portland


Basel Mo (Syria), Community leader and Father, Baltimore

Kalman Rupp, Ph.D. (Hungary), Research Economist, Rockville

Nezia Munezero Kubwayo (Burundi), Baltimore


Rich Enuol (Vietnam), Brain Injury Services Site Manager, Easthampton


Angelique Mugabekazi, Social Worker, Grand Rapids

Bawi Par (Burma), Community Leader, Grand Rapids

Biak Mang (Burma), Faith Leader/Treasurer, Falam Baptist Church, Grand Rapids

Gin Piang (Burma), Refugee Case Manager, Grand Rapids

Haitham Hashim Atiyah (Iraq), Former Paraprofessional, Grand Rapids

Salah Kamal (Syria), Worker Employment Specialist, Grand Rapids

Sanela Sprecic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Public School Educator and Academic Coach, Kentwood

Teresita Long (Cuba), Grand Rapids


Jaime Ursic, Educator, Kansas City


Wilmot Collins (Liberia), Mayor, City of Helena

New Jersey

Albana Gurabardhi (Kosovo), Nutley

New Mexico

Mahbooba Mufid (Afghanistan), Community Leader and Organizer, Albuquerque

Mohammed Alkwaz (Iraq), Community Leader, Albuquerque

New York

George W Tarr (Liberia), Staten Island

Trinh Truong (Vietnam), Student, Utica

North Carolina

Adamou Mohamed (Niger), Community Leader, Greensboro      

Allison Mahaley (Syria), Community Leader, Hillsborough            

Bereket Mesfun (Eritrea), Student, Raleigh

Birendra Chhetri (Bhutan), Refugee Case Manager, Greensboro 

Dev Bhandari (Bhutan), Community Leader, High Point  

Felix Iyoko (Democratic Republic of Congo), Faith Leader, Raleigh            

Feven T Smith (Eritrea), Social Worker, Raleigh  

Katia Hamdan (Lebanon), Greensboro   

Lauren Rcom (Vietnam), Mother/Student, Greensboro  

Liana Adrong (Vietnam), Greensboro     

Nazrawi Sibhat (Eritrea), Resettlement Case Manager, Greensboro          

Samira Jasim (Iraq), CAD Technician, Raleigh      

Sufyan Abdullah (Iraq), Father, Cashier, Durham

TJ Giri (Nepal), Employment Coordinator, Raleigh            

Y' Levi Mlo (Vietnam), Greensboro         


Ahmed Abdille (Somalia), Family Reunification Worker, Columbus

Jacqueline Kifuko (Uganda), Refugee Organizer, Columbus

Jagat Acharya (Bhutan), Business Owner, Columbus

Jawid Ahmadzai (Afghanistan), Community Leader, Akron

Mohamed Ali (Somalia), Engineer and Community Advocate, Columbus

Seleshi Ayalew Asfaw (Ethiopia), Nonprofit Executive Director, Columbus


Baher Butti (Iraq), Secretary General, Iraqi Society of Oregon, Portland

Chi Nguyen (Vietnam), Business Owner, Salem

Jamal Dar (Somalia), Founder, African Youth Community Organization and Design Manager, Nike, Portland

Kayse Jama (Somalia), Executive Director, Unite Oregon, Portland

Mohamed Mohamed (Somalia), Community Health Worker, Portland

Muwafaq Alkattan (Iraq),  Iraqi Society of Oregon, Tigard

Som Subedi (Bhutan), Community Leader, Portland

Taghreed Challoob (Iraq), Community Leader, Beaverton


Adama Bangura (Sierra Leone), Philadelphia

Alieu Sanoe (Liberia), Collingdale

Joseph Sackor (Liberia), Refugee Congress Delegate for PA, Levittown

Mohammed Dukuly (Liberia), IT Specialist, Folcroft

Mustafa Nuur (Somalia), Business Owner, Lancaster

Rhode Island

Alexander D. Tarlue (Liberia), Community Leader, Neezonia Association in America, Providence

South Dakota

Clara Hart (Mozambiqe), Community Leader, Retired Educator, Refugee Congress Delegate, Sioux Falls

Jenina Gatnoor (South Sudan), Faith Leader/Pastor, Sioux Falls


Daoud Frutan (Afghanistan), Community Leader and Refugee Coordinator, Memphis

Dr. Gatluak Ter Thach (Sudan), Nashville

Fikiri David Madogo (Democratic Republic of Congo), Memphis

Fozia Mohamed, Antioch

Khadra Mohamud (Somalia), Mother, Public Health Advisor, Nashville

Koang Chol (Sudan), Faith Leader, Gallatin

Mangal Tamang

Shalum Deeka (Sudan), Community Leader


Abdul Hamid Ayubzai (Afghanistan), Community Leader, Father, Dallas

Ahmad Zia Adib (Afghanistan), Engineer, Austin

Aisha Koroma, Refugee Advocate, Houston

Anmar Al Hasani (Iraq), Employement Specialist, Houston

Azhar Yousif (Iraq), Community Leader and Student, Austin

Bernadette Musekura (Rawanda), Social Worker, Dallas

Bhuvanesh Bhatt (India), Software Developer, Austin

Christian Iongue Dessug (Cameroon), Senior Financial Analyst, Austin

Desire Nizigiyimana, Refugee Program Assistant, Austin

Dhefar Alheleji (Iraq), Case Manager, Allen

Dr. Hadidja Nyiransekuye (Rwanda), Community Leader, Assistant Professor, Refugee Congress Delegate, Denton

Dr. Walter Nguyen (Vietnam), Employer and Executive Director, Dallas

Firas Al Maghazachi, San Antonio

Gachuruzi Kanyamanza

Ghassan AL Hammami (Iraq), Social Worker and Refugee Case Manager, Fort Worth

Gildas Vindou, Austin

Gordana Arnautovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Business Owner, Houston

Jawid Georgewali (Afghanistan), Round Rock

Jean-Claude Mukerwa Mauridi (Democratic Republic of Congo), Fort Worth

Judy Le (Vietnam), Business Owner and Community Leader, Houston

Khalad Amer (Iraq), Refugee Case Manager, Fort Worth

Lalit Pradhan (Bhutan), Manager, Dallas

Lena Asensio (Cuba), Community Leader and Program Officer, Houston

Lila Razzaqui, Community Leader, Dallas

Luke Saw (Burma), Community Leader, Dallas

  1. Al Ibrahim (Iraq), Fort Worth

Mahesh Neopaney (Bhutan), Katy

Mansoor Pozhhan (Afghanistan), Father, Case Manager, Austin

Marvin Jimu (Zimbabwe), Fort Worth

Mary Say (Burma), Houston

Michel Sanchez (Cuba), Refugee Employee Case Manager, Houston

Mohammad Omid (Afghanistan), Austin

Mohammed Almani (Iraq), Business Owner, Houston

Muhammad Ghmh (Afghanistan), System Administrator, Austin

Musaab Alkhayatt (Iraq), Father, Resettlement Program Supervisor, Amarillo

Naiyolis Palomo (Cuba), Community Leader, Houston

Nisar Ahmad Momand, Houston

Niyonkuru Alexis (Burundi), Burundi Community Organization Representative, Houston

Parvez Fazli (Afghanistan), IT Specialist, Austin

Prakash Koirala (Bhutan), Chairperson, Bhutan Community Organization, Fort Worth

Rasha (Iraq), Physician, Houston

Richard Chancem (Burma), Refugee Case Worker, Dallas

Roy Mong (Taiwan), Dallas

Saghar Roshan, Faith Leader and Director, San Antonio

Saniha Lakhpaty (United Arab Emirates), Student, Houston

Sanja Bogdanovic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Business Owner, Fort Worth

Sedrick Ntwali (Democratic Republic of Congo), Community Organizer, Austin

Sharefa Daw (Burma), Resettlement Case Worker, Dallas

Sian Khai (Burma), Dallas

Som Bhandari (Bhutan), Office Assistant, Fort Worth

Sudip Adhikari (Bhutan), Business Owner, Fort Worth

Susanne Lubanga, Abilene

Tedros Wondefrash (Eritrea), Community Leader, Houston

Timothy Mukuke (Democratic Republic of Congo), Refugee Advocate and Marketing Executive, Houston

Toya Mary Okonkwo, Professor, Fort Worth

Tresor Fikiri Madjagi (Democratic Republic of Congo), Employment Case Manager, Fort Worth

Victoria Baritz (Ukraine), Austin

Waleed Ali (Iraq), Driver, Austin

Zainab Ihsan, Houston


Alaa Al-Barkawi (Iraq), Refugee Advocate, College and Career Readiness Specialist, West Valley

Ali Rasheed (Iraq), Job Developer, Salt Lake City 

Gyanu Dulal (Bhutan), Refugee Congress Delegate, Salt Lake City

Salam Shawky (Iraq), Refugee Coordinator, Salt Lake City             

Sara Hussein (Iraq), Faith Leader and Senior Case Worker, Salt Lake City 

Tatjana Andrews (Bosnia), Salt Lake City

Thet Aung (Burma), Salt Lake City           


Arsalan Syan (Iraq), Refugee Case Worker, Harisonburg

Geeta Ghimirey (Bhutan), Charlottesville

Kathy Tran (Vietnam), Elected Official, Delegate, Virginia House of Delegates, Springfield

Mezekir Zemenfes (Eritrea), Community Leader, Harrisonburg

Suleman Rashidi (Afghanistan), Annandale

Yasmine Taeb (Iran), Human Rights Attorney and Senior Policy Counsel, Center for Victims of Torture


Aida Bound, Social Worker, Wenatchee

Dahir Omar (Somalia), Father and Community Advocate, Seattle

Dal Diyali (Bhutan), Senior Finance and HR Coordinator, Covington

Do Nguyen (Vietnam), Seattle

Linh Thai (Vietnam), Seattle

Nikki Chau (Vietnam), Seattle

Radmila Hidic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Finance Manager, Bothell

Sing Langh (Burma), Father/Community and Church Member, Auburn

Trang Tu (Vietnam), Seattle

Uyen Nguyen (Vietnam), Business Owner, Seattle