David Miliband, CEO of the International Rescue Committee and former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for England, talks to Business Insider about the myths about refugee resettlement in the United States. Following is a transcript of the video.
The only good thing about the controversy surrounding the administration executive order is it allows us to correct the myths that have grown up around refugee resettlement.
First myth is that America takes more than its fair shares of refugees. No, more than 85% of the world’s refugees are in poor countries, not in rich countries.
It’s a myth that its easy to get here as a refugee. It’s tougher to get to the us as a refugee than by any other route. It takes 18-24 months, it involves 12-15 government agencies, there’s biometric testing to make sure that people are who they say they are. Those are the facts.
It’s also a myth that refugees are not productive contributors to society. It’s not just Albert Einstein who founded the International Rescue Committee, it’s not just Madeline Albright a refugee who became secretary of state, its not just that Steve Jobs’ biological father was a Syrian refugee. Across the country there are refugees who are becoming productive and patriotic citizens, and its a myth to suggest that they’re not.
I think that the resettlement process that the US has developed in a partnership between federal government, state government, and NGOs like the International Rescue Committee, has enormous strength and can teach the world a lot. It’s a successful program. The biggest improvement would be to ensure that those refugees with extra needs those people who come here with bigger languages difficulties, those here who’ve missed out in education, that they get extra help, to ensure that they can become productive contributors to society here.
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