The Trump administration has announced its intention to reduce the number of refugees to be admitted to the U.S. in fiscal year 2020 to an abysmal 18,000 (“Administration proposes cutting refugee limit for third year in a row,” Sept. 27). Given the steady and relentless efforts of his administration to end the refugee resettlement program, this latest blow comes as no surprise, but its impact on the many refugees who have survived torture and trauma will be immediate and brutal: The announcement extinguishes the hope of thousands upon thousands of people who pictured resettlement to the U.S. as their path to survival.
There are currently nearly 26 million refugees in the world, according to United Nations statistics, and at the Center for Victims of Torture we know that far too many of them have survived the worst imaginable acts that one human can inflict upon another. In fact, our research shows that as many as 44% of refugees living in the U.S. today are torture survivors. The refugee survivors of torture we work with abroad now can barely dare to dream of a future in a new country where they will have safety and a chance to establish a future for their families. Survivors need safety; they need care.
Last year, the president set the admissions cap at 30,000 — an all-time low, with pre-Trump administration norms being around 95,000 refugees per year. This year, CVT joined with rehabilitation and humanitarian organizations in calling on the administration to bring in at least that many refugees in 2020. Instead, the number just announced by the president is an outrage.
The U.S. long served as a symbol of hope and the promise of a safe, stable future. We must not let the refugee admissions program be obliterated.
Curt Goering, Minneapolis
The writer is the executive director for the Center for Victims of Torture in St. Paul.
Meet ‘hatred’ with civil discourse
As a lifetime Minneapolis resident, I am embarrassed and saddened by the disparaging remarks from Mayor Jacob Frey, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar and City Council President Lisa Bender regarding the impending Oct. 10 rally for President Donald Trump (“Trump plans Target Center rally,” Sept. 27). These progressives demonstrate the real hatred with remarks about Trump’s “lies and bigotry” and “message of hatred” and his rally as a cause of “stress and fear.” They are almost begging for protests and counter-protests to disrupt the democratic rights of conservatives to support the accomplishments of the past two years and the opportunities in the years ahead.
Rather than hiding behind their hateful remarks in our local newspaper, they should all demonstrate some courage and take this opportunity to meet with Trump and face him directly with their concerns. Civil discourse doesn’t begin with mud-slinging remarks from afar; it requires making the extra effort to make a case for progress toward the future America they envision. We expect more of our local leaders!
Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis
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I understand that Trump will visit Minnesota on Oct. 10 for a re-election campaign rally. And, given what I’ve heard reported from his previous rallies in other cities, he will assail Democrats for their “witch hunts” and immigrants, whom he summarily describes with a broad brush as “rapists” and “drug-dealers” for wanting to enter our country. He will denigrate leaders of a different race for … being of a different race. He will stoke fears of “invasion” and “fake news” and take a shot at “slow Joe Biden” and “Pocahontas” Elizabeth Warren — two of his potential campaign rivals.
What he hasn’t done is tell us why he should be re-elected president. And, as a “flyover country” citizen, I really want to know. I get it that he has launched a class and race war. I get that he appeals to people who are tired of being ignored, put-down or living in fear of losing their culture to nonwhites. From what I gather, these people make up the majority of his base.
But I live in Minnesota, where we rely on foreign markets to sell our products and where we have infrastructure problems so severe that an interstate bridge collapsed in August 2007, killing 13 people. We demand better and lower-cost health care, but he campaigned and then repeatedly tried to kill one national effort to help. Why? Trump said it was a bad plan but offered no alternative. He takes away our environmental protections, describing them as overreach, but offers nothing in return, and he and his minions attempt to browbeat and denigrate children who are trying to save the planet. He ignores our repeated pleas for saner gun policies, despite repeated attacks on our way of life by deluded home-grown terrorists.
So just once, just this once, when Trump addresses Minnesotans on Oct. 10: Tell us in concrete terms what you have done to make America great during the past two years and why we should continue to support you.
Thomas Collins, St. Paul
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Trump is planning to come to Minneapolis in October. Minneapolis should be very cautious letting him in. He doesn’t pay his bills, even when he has plenty of money. He’s a cheapskate and a cheat, as most of us are aware.
A “visit” costs city taxpayers a lot of money in facilities, extra security, etc. When he went to El Paso, Texas, to campaign on the coattails of the mass shooting there, he still owed El Paso $400,000 from his previous visit months earlier. El Paso finally started charging him interest, and the bill is now more than $500,000.
He’s a little, little man, not a big man. I still have at least one moral left, unlike his supporters, and I find him disgusting.
A. Martin, Merrifield, Minn.
Reasoned, but not a viable candidate
Over this past year, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has emerged as a thoughtful, articulate spokesperson for the Democratic Party’s mainstream. Klobuchar’s calm voice has added a welcome note of reasonableness to the often cacophonous Democratic presidential candidate debates this summer. But her calm reason has not advanced her own presidential ambitions. Despite her best efforts, she is still polling in the low single digits.
Now the time has come for her to withdraw from the presidential nomination race. As American politics careens into the maelstrom of impeachment, Klobuchar and the other trailing candidates are only adding more confusion and distractions to an already explosive 2020 election campaign. She can play a more useful role by spending her time back in Washington helping her colleagues grapple with the federal budget, prescription drug costs and the Senate’s other unfinished business.
Iric Nathanson, Minneapolis
Cut out the noise: Was the call OK?
I am following the reactions to President Donald Trump’s communications with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with increasing dismay. Trump’s supporters are saying they like his wall, that they think he’s doing a good job and that they think Democrats hate him. But what happened on that call and in Rudy Giuliani’s contacts with Zelensky must be viewed through the simple lens of whether it is wrong for the president to urge a foreign head of state to search out negative information on a political opponent. Is it wrong, with or without a quid pro quo? Is it wrong, regardless of political affiliation? Is it wrong? Everything else is irrelevant.
Kathleen Winters, Roseville
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