Katko has been critical of the Trump administration’s policies directed at refugees. He thinks the U.S. has an effective vetting process in place for refugees, but that the number of refugee admissions should increase.
“We’re a nation of refugees,” he said.
For Balter, D-Syracuse, immigration reform is more than a political issue. It’s personal.
The Trump administration’s asylum policies, she said, have been upsetting because of her family history. Her grandparents were Holocaust refugees who fled Europe and settled in the U.S. She acknowledged that if they attempted to leave Europe for the U.S. at an earlier point, they would’ve been denied entry.
“We talk about being a land of freedom and opportunity,” Balter said. “We have the Statue of Liberty there at the entrance to the country. That means something. We need to have a healthy, functioning asylum system so that people who are fleeing persecution, when they come here, have a system that works that they can go through.”
Like Katko, she supports having more judges and caseworkers who can handle asylum and immigration-related matters. She also wants to lift the caps that Trump has placed on refugee admissions.
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