Mayor Durkan to the Trump Administration: We Will Continue to Welcome Refugees in the City of Seattle

Seattle (November 14, 2019) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan sent a letter today to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirming that she welcomes refugee resettlement in the City of Seattle. The letter comes in response to Executive Order 13888, which will allow states and municipalities to restrict refugee resettlement in their jurisdictions.

You can read the full text of the Mayor’s letter here.

“This Executive Order is yet another attempt by this president to push his anti-immigrant and anti-family agenda on the American people. But if this president thinks he can intimidate Seattle and Washington State, he is sorely mistaken,” said Mayor Durkan. “Seattle is a Welcoming City, and as Mayor, I wholeheartedly and enthusiastically consent to refugee resettlement in our great city. Seattle is not afraid of immigrants and refugees. In fact, we have always welcomed people who have faced tremendous hardships around the world. Immigrants and refugees are part of Seattle’s heritage, and they will continue to make us the city of the future.”

President Trump’s Executive Order to allow states and municipalities to ban refugee resettlement in their jurisdictions is unprecedented. The Trump administration has already slashed the refugee admittance cap for the third consecutive year to a historic low of 18,000, down from 110,000 at the end of the Obama administration. And in October 2019, the United States settled zero refugees, turning our backs on families fleeing war, violence, and persecution.

“My family arrived as refugees in the U.S. in 1975 after the collapse of Saigon with nothing but the clothes on our backs and a small bag of family photos,” said Seattle Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs director Cuc Vu. “And today my very existence and the success of not only my family, but of refugee communities across the U.S. is a testament to how welcoming refugees builds a stronger and more successful America. Under Trump, the Statue of Liberty hangs her head down in shame.”

Immigrants account for more than 18 percent of Seattle’s population. Twenty-two percent of the Seattle population speaks a language other than English at home. Between 2000 and 2014, Seattle’s immigrant population grew 20 percent, as compared to 14 percent for the total population.

The City of Seattle is a Welcoming City – immigrants and refugees are welcome here. For more information on the City of Seattle’s Welcoming City policies, please check out our Seattle as a Welcoming City page.