Companies are working in opposition to Trump’s attempts to limit refugees entering the US, but many feel they have to tread carefully

One year has made a huge difference in the official US response to the global refugee crisis, the largest displacement of people through violent conflict since the Second World War.  Last June, former President Obama issued a Call to Action, inviting the US private sector to make significant commitments in education, employment and enablement to refugees living in countries on the frontlines, and resettling to counties like the US.  By September, 50 leading companies had signed the pledge. 

This was put in jeopardy, however, with the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House.

Early this year the Trump Administration issued an executive order banning travellers from seven mostly-Muslim countries, a 120-day moratorium on refugee resettlement and an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees. A revised version, issued in March, took Iraq off the list and, while still halting refugee resettlement, took Syria off the banned list.  The travel ban has since been halted, ruled illegal by two separate federal appeals courts, though on different grounds.

In the wake of the original travel ban, 80 US companies signed an open letter to the president calling on him to “uphold refugee and immigration policies that affirm the equal opportunity of the American Dream,” noted John Kluge, co-founder of Alight Fund, a for-profit investment fund that invests in refugee and host-country entrepreneurs.  

According to the Pew Center, refugees make up only one in...

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