The Enough Project is dedicated to ending genocide and crimes against humanity in East and Central Africa, including in Sudan and Somalia. A key aspect of combating these atrocities is to ensure protection of innocent people fleeing this violence, especially when the governments responsible for protecting their civilians either cannot, or will not, do so.
Like others, we know that many refugees today are fleeing unspeakable violence, including war crimes, crimes against humanity, and even genocide. The Enough Project works with Sudanese and Somali nationals, and decisions to limit or ban travel to the United States and refugee admissions will make our work to engage in serious research and provide sound policy recommendations to decision makers regarding these countries more difficult and complicated.
We are heartened by the process underway to review these decisions but understand that this will remain an ongoing debate.
The broader consequences of turning away refugees fleeing such violence are immense. The dehumanization of refugees can embolden regimes committing such acts, perpetuating instability and violence and further reinforcing the very conditions that are leading to refugee flows in the first place. The refusal of the United States and many other countries in the 1930s and 1940s to admit Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi regime offers a sober reminder of just how grave these consequences can be. During that shameful episode in American history, arguments to exclude refugees coalesced around supposed national security interests, cultural misunderstanding, religious intolerance, economic uncertainty, and perhaps ultimately, fear.
A sound U.S. policy balances genuine national security concerns with the protection of refugees regardless of national origin or religious identity. Addressing the root causes of global refugee flows, including the violent kleptocratic regimes contributing to the international crisis, can more adequately address refugee flows than denying resettlement.
Many proud refugees have made incredible contributions to the United States, using the long refugee resettlement process to overcome immeasurably difficult odds and escape desperate situations such as those in Sudan and Somalia. It is our sincerest hope that this process continues to the fullest extent while continuing to maintain U.S. security interests.