International Institute of Wisconsin
Press Release

International Institute of Wisconsin Joins in Request for Trump Administration to Reinstate U.S. Leadership Through the Refugee Admissions Program

“We’re disheartened by the recent announcement of allowing only 30,000 refugee admissions for next year based on the current worldwide refugee crisis,” said Alexander Durtka, Jr., president of the IIW.

By - Sep 19th, 2018 02:29 pm

MILWAUKEE, WIS. —The International Institute of Wisconsin (IIW), an organization dedicated to the promotion of international cooperation, understanding, and a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural perspective for more than 80 years, is joining with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and urging the Trump Administration to set a higher number of refugee admissions for fiscal year 2019.

“We’re disheartened by the recent announcement of allowing only 30,000 refugee admissions for next year based on the current worldwide refugee crisis,” said Alexander Durtka, Jr., president of the IIW. “Participating in the United States Refugee Admissions Program has been a cornerstone of the services that the IIW has provided for several decades. Our staff and board of directors view the program as crucial to the country’s humanitarian efforts.”

The United States government carefully selects refugees who enter the country, as those individuals must go through a thorough and lengthy admissions process that includes rigorous security screenings and in-person interviews.

[inarticled]“As we have learned in working with thousands of individuals we have resettled in the greater Milwaukee area, resettlement is paramount for many refugees, as safety cannot be assured in the countries they flee due to particular circumstances they face,” Durtka said.

The range of resettlement services the IIW offers refugees include providing safe and secure living arrangements, basic necessities, links to resources to address their physical, medical, economic and social needs, cultural orientation, case management and adjustment of legal status. Integration into society is the overall goal of the IIW resettlement program, and the organization works diligently to help its clients achieve this goal.

“Here in southeastern Wisconsin and across America, intense advocacy for refugee resettlement is demonstrated daily by community volunteers, employers, faith-based partners, and neighbors,” Durtka said. “The pronouncement to further reduce the number of refugees is contrary to the needs of vulnerable refugees.”

According to Durtka, with the planned modifications, thousands of individuals who were previously evaluated, endorsed, and pledged protection by the U.S. government will now need to  reopen the process. “The interruption to programs will have harsh long-term impact for nearly every refugee,” he said.

The IIW initiates, coordinates, and sponsors a variety of activities and programs appropriate to the fulfillment of its purpose, including immigration and social services, refugee resettlement, citizen diplomacy, and interpretation and translation. In addition, the IIW produces the annual Holiday Folk Fair International, with the 2018 event to be held Fri., Nov. 16 – Sun., Nov. 18 at the State Fair Park Exposition Center.

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