Rep. Castro, Jake Sullivan Speak at First Day of TruCon2020

Two-day event kicks off with conversations on immigration, military presence in the Middle East and relations with China 

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Truman Center for National Policy began its annual conference, TruCon2020 to discuss the most pressing national security and foreign policy issues of the day. Featured speakers included Rep. Castro (D-TX), Jake Sullivan, senior foreign policy advisor to the Biden campaign, Jenna Ben-Yehuda, President and CEO of the Truman Center for National Policy, Ali Noorani, President and CEO, National Immigration Forum, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Adam Hunter, Executive Director, Refugee Council USA among many others. 

Commenting on the recent news of record-low refugee admissions, Rep. Castro commented, “There are now 80 million people around the world displaced from their homes, so we need to get back to a place where refugee caps -- for example with the Grace Act -- can move up to 95,000. During the Obama years, at some point, it was 100,000. I’m an advocate for getting it back... We’ve got to get that number back up. We‘ve got to, again, be a place of refuge for the oppressed and vulnerable people.”

Ali Noorani, President and CEO, National Immigration Forum commented on the role of immigrants helping the US fight COVID-19, “Let’s look at operations vital to the COVID-19 response and what is the percentage of foreign-born workers in some of those occupations? Nearly 40% of home health aides are foreign-born, and nearly 30% are physicians. Almost 25% of pharmacists are foreign-born, and almost 25% are nursing assistants. So, in these occupations that are vital to the nation’s response to COVID-19, the data makes it very clear that immigrants are playing a disproportionate role in helping the country move forward.”

Jake Sullivan, senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and senior advisor to the Biden campaign said, “We should see no trade-off between competing vigorously, on the one hand, and working together with China where it’s in our interests on the other hand. We shouldn’t go soft on trade abuses or human rights abuses to gain China’s favor on some other set of issues, because it’s frankly in their interests too to work on climate change and global health and nuclear proliferation and global economic stability. We should be perfectly prepared to walk and chew gum at the same time. Compete hard, and then work with China where it’s in our interest to do so.”

Jenna Ben-Yehuda, President of Truman Center for National Policy said, “Serving US interests in this new moment will require us to finally shatter the barriers we’ve placed between our domestic agenda and our foreign policy. We must be at home in the world - just as COVID made it to our shores in an afternoon’s transatlantic flight and as California’s fires made DC’s skies hazy days later, so too must we recognize that our broader national security challenges are the ones we also face at home.”