Statement from UN Foundation Deputy CEO Elizabeth Cousens on the new Executive Order regarding refugee resettlement in the U.S.

Washington, D.C.

March 7, 2017


Megan Rabbitt

With a public debate in full swing in the United States regarding the country’s posture toward refugees, the United Nations Foundation today issued a statement reconfirming its commitment to working with the United Nations to stand with refugees and to champion the values, principles, and international frameworks that help refugees receive life-saving assistance and protection.

UN Foundation Deputy CEO, Elizabeth Cousens, said,

“American leadership has been a bulwark of the international refugee regime for 70 years, and the United States has long been seen as a beacon for victims of war, violence, and persecution who have been welcomed to our shores and in our communities for generations. American values are upheld when we help families in their greatest hour of need, and by ensuring every person can live in safety and dignity, we create a safer world for Americans and for all people.

The Executive Order released on March 6, 2017 on ‘Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States’ threatens these values, our reputation as a welcoming nation, and our security. While the new Executive Order is more limited in scope than its predecessor, it suffers from the same flaws. It puts refugees from the countries in question –  who like all refugees to the United States are already subject to some of the most extensive vetting procedures in the world – in limbo. In cutting overall refugee admissions by half, it undermines our leadership. In targeting only refugees from certain countries, it encourages enemies of the United States who benefit from seeing the U.S. close its borders to the most vulnerable. As we stated in the article ‘Why American Leadership Means Standing #WithRefugees’, U.S. leadership in support of refugees has always enhanced our security: ‘cooperating with other countries to share the task of helping the displaced has been a bedrock of regional and global stability for over 70 years.’

As we face the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II with over 60 million people forcibly displaced, the UN Foundation will continue to stand with the UN, with U.S. leadership to support refugees, and against discrimination in all its forms.”

Editor’s Note: On March 6, 2017, the U.S. Administration released a revised version of the Executive Order on “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The new order includes changes such as removing Iraq from the list of targeted countries, but retains the fundamental – and harmful – elements of the original order. The United Nations Foundation continues to stand with refugees and against this Executive Order, as we expressed in the piece here following the signing of the original order.


About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual donors. Learn more at: