LIRS Signs on to Letter Urging U.S. Secretary of State to Preserve Role of PRM

Dear Mr. Secretary:

As former diplomats and national security officials who have served in Republican and
Democratic presidential administrations, and community leaders who have been involved in
efforts around the world to address issues relating to conflict and displacement, we write with
respect to your deliberations around the reorganization of the Department of State.

We write at a time in which world displacement is at the highest level ever recorded, which
underscores the critical importance of U.S. capacity to address this crucial global issue. In this
respect, the Administration is very fortunate to have been extremely well-served by the State
Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). The PRM Bureau plays,
in effective partnership with USAID, a key role in promoting U.S. humanitarian and foreign
policy interests, and has been an extraordinarily valuable tool for the Department of State and the
Secretary of State – now and over the past decades. For this reason, any reorganization plan
should seek to validate and reaffirm the role of PRM.

Refugee issues are rooted in international politics and diplomacy, which are the key concerns of
the Department of State and U.S. foreign policy. This is unambiguously reflected in the
Migration and Refugee Assistance Act, which provides the authority for assistance programs that
are now overseen by PRM and have enjoyed strong bipartisan support over many years.

Whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kenya, Turkey or South Sudan, the Department of State’s efforts
to address humanitarian crises must include the tightest coordination of diplomatic engagement
and emergency assistance. Displacement needs become key issues of concern for U.S.
counterparts during bilateral discussions on issues relating to politics and security, and it is
critical that the Secretary of State have at his or her disposal both the expertise and resources
from within the Department that PRM provides.

We also note that most of the State Department’s provision of humanitarian assistance is through
investments in a number of international humanitarian organizations. The State Department’s
strong role in the governing bodies of those organizations, such as UNHCR and ICRC – along
with USAID programs — provide the United States with enormous influence over how
humanitarian organizations operate in areas of concern to the U.S. government.

We are convinced that the elimination of PRM’s assistance functions would have profound and
negative implications for the Secretary of State’s capacity to influence policy issues of key
concern to the United States. It would also be ironic, as this is one of the bureaus at State that
has enjoyed strong bipartisan support over many years.

We also believe it is critical that PRM retain its current responsibilities for the U.S. refugee
resettlement program. The 1980 Refugee Act, passed overwhelmingly by the Congress, made
clear that the measure was both an expression of U.S. global interests and a vital tool of U.S.
foreign policy. Even modest U.S. refugee resettlement levels can influence host governments to
provide safe haven, educational opportunities, and other forms of social integration to
significantly larger populations of displaced people, thereby preventing forced returns of
refugees and discouraging onward migration – both of which can have destabilizing impacts on
fragile regions. The U.S. program has also helped to encourage other countries to provide
resettlement opportunities for refugees, and thereby lighten the load for host governments.

While a change or elimination of the State Department’s role would be in stark conflict with the
goals of the 1980 Refugee Act, we do recognize that the Department of Homeland Security has
important equities in this program. But DHS already plays a significant role, by ensuring robust
security vetting and by determining the eligibility and admissibility of all refugees. In short,
nobody enters without DHS approval. But DHS has neither the international staffing
infrastructure nor the expertise to identify refugee groups in need of protection or resettlement,
nor to understand the diplomatic consequences or opportunities to leverage resettlement for U.S.
foreign policy interests.

In conclusion, we encourage you in the strongest of terms to sustain the roles and vitally
important mission of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

Sincerely,


Former government officials:

Frederick D. Barton
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations
Former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees
Former Director, Office of Transition Initiatives, US Agency for International Development
(USAID)

Robert M. Beecroft
Former Head of Mission, OSCE Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Rand Beers
Former Deputy Assistant to the President for Homeland Security

Mark Bellamy
Former U.S. Ambassador to Kenya
Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs

Robert Blake
Former Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs
Former U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia and to Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Barbara Bodine
Former U.S. Ambassador to Yemen

Mark Brzezinski
Former U.S. Ambassador to Sweden
Former National Security Council Director for Russian/Eurasian Affairs and Southeast European
Affairs

Reuben Brigety
Former U.S. Ambassador to the African Union

Nicholas Burns
Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs
Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and to Greece
Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior NSC Director for Russia, Ukraine and
Eurasia

William J. Burns
Former Deputy Secretary of State
Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs
Former U.S. Ambassador to Russia and to Jordan

Lorne Craner
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Former Member, National Security Council Staff

Sheba Crocker
Former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs

James Cunningham
Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, to Afghanistan and to Israel

Mary Curtin
Former Political Counselor, US Mission to the European Union

Jeffrey Davidow
Former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Venezuela and Zambia
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs

Arthur “Gene” Dewey
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration

James I. Gadsden
Former U.S. Ambassador to Iceland
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs

Jean Geran
Former National Security Council Director for Democracy and Human Rights

Jeremy Konyndyk
Former Director, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)

Gordon Gray
Former U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia
Former Director, State Department Office of Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Operations

Victoria K. Holt
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs

Elise Jordan
Former National Security Council Director for Communications

David Kramer
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Daniel C. Kurtzer
Former U.S. Ambassador to Egypt and Israel

Mark P. Lagon
Former Ambassador-at-Large to Combat Trafficking in Persons

Ellen Laipson
Former Vice Chair, U.S. National Intelligence Council

Frank Loy
Former Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs

Princeton Lyman
Former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria and South Africa
Former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs
Former Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan

Phyllis Oakley
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research

Lynn Pascoe
Former US Ambassador to Malaysia and Indonesia
Former UN Undersecretary General for Political Affairs

James Purcell
Former Director, Bureau of Refugee Program
Former Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Nancy Ely-Raphel
Former U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia
Former Coordinator for the Balkans, U.S. Department of State

Anne C. Richard
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration
Former Director, Secretary of State’s Office of Resources, Plans and Policy

Dennis Ross
Former Special Assistant to the President and NSC Senior Director for the Central Region
Former special Middle East coordinator
Former Director, Policy Planning, U.S. Department of State

Ellen Sauerbrey
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration

Teresita Schaffer
Former U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka

Kori Schake
Former Deputy Director for Policy Planning, Department of State
Former National Security Council Director for Defense Strategy and Requirements

Wendy Sherman
Former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs

William H. Taft
Former Legal Advisor, Department of State
Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO
Former General Counsel, U.S. Department of Defense

Sam Witten
Former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration
Former State Department Deputy Legal Advisor

Representatives of Non-governmental Organizations:

T. Alexander Aleinikoff
Director, Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, The New School
Former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees
Former General Counsel, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), Department of Justice

Scott Arbeiter
President
World Relief

Dr. Georgette F. Bennett
Founder, Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees

Linda Hartke
President and CEO
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

Mark Hetfield
President and CEO
HIAS

Erol Kekic
Executive Director, Immigration and Refugee Program
Church World Service

Anwar Khan
CEO
Islamic Relief USA

Neal Keny-Guyer
CEO
Mercy Corps

Lavinia Limon
President and CEO
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants

Elisa Massimino
President and CEO
Human Rights First

Carolyn Miles
President and CEO
Save the Children

David Miliband
President and CEO
International Rescue Committee

David Ray
Vice President for Global Advocacy
CARE USA

David M. Robinson
Executive Director, Jesuit Refugee Service USA
Former Assistant Secretary of State, Conflict and Stabilization Operations

Eric P. Schwartz
President
Refugees International
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration
Former Special Assistant to the President and NSC Senior Director for Multilateral and
Humanitarian Affairs

The Rev. Canon E. Mark Stevenson
Director
Episcopal Migration Ministries

Tsehaye Teferra
President and CEO
Ethiopian Community Development Council

Wendy Young
President
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)

Copies to:

Senator Bob Corker, Chair
Senator Ben Cardin, Ranking Member
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Senator Lindsey Graham, Chair
Senator Patrick Leahy, Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
Representative Ed Royce, Chair
Representative Eliot Engel, Ranking Member
House Foreign Affairs Committee
Representative Hal Rogers, Chair
Representative Nita Lowey, Ranking Member
House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs