Soft Landing Missoula is one of the groups responsible for helping hundreds of refugees to relocate to Missoula over the past four years.

The group’s Executive Director, Mary Poole, is protesting a potential severe cut in the number of refugees to be allowed in the United States for fiscal year 2020.

“The Presidential Determination which is the refugee admissions ceiling that is set every year in October,” said Poole. “We’ve been hearing that the number will be cut drastically this year, even though we’re already at a historic low. The number did come out last week that only 18,000 will be allowed in this fiscal year. As a reference, historically, the average each year has been around 95,000.”

Poole related the reasons for the drastically reduced numbers told to her by immigration officials.

“It’s being said that there’s such a backlog of asylum cases on the southern border and they need to focus their resources on those, “she said. “Really, those are two very separate systems. The processing of refugees takes place overseas, so the backlog of cases seeking asylum shouldn’t impact how many refugees we’re able to process.”

Poole said refugees literally have nowhere else to go than to come to the United States.

“Refugees are coming here with literally with no other solution,” she said. “Less than one percent of the world’s refugees even qualify for third country resettlement which is the program here in the United States and Canada and other countries, so it’s a very small number of refugees, and they qualify because they cannot stay where they are. They’re the most vulnerable people in the world.”

Poole asks listeners to contact their Congressional Delegation to support the Grace Act which sets the refugee resettlement number back to 97,000 per year, and to contact her organization at Soft Landing dot org.