President Trump to Dramatically Slash Number of Refugees Entering US
29 September, 2017, 00:37
A cap of 45,000 is set to be announced by the President in the coming days, the lowest number in decades, since the refugee resettlement program was established in 1980.
"We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is created to help these horribly treated people, and which enables their eventual return to their home countries to be part of the rebuilding process", he said, arguing that for the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, the USA can assist more than 10 migrants in their home regions.
The Trump administration has defended its decision to sharply curtail the number of refugees allowed into the United States to 45,000 next year, as global humanitarian groups decried the move and said the number was far too low. The Department of Homeland Security recommended a figure closer to 40,000.
Notably, this cap does not include an "unallocated reserve" quota for the administration to respond to unforeseen upticks in refugees, according to the CNN. In previous years, the US had admitted an estimated 70,000 refugees annually.
"I call it an example of evidence-free policy-making because all evidence indicates that refugees result in significant benefits for American society and meet our foreign policy interests, not to mention our values", said Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International who oversaw such issues at the State Department under Mr. Obama.
The decision will disappoint refugee advocates and United Nations agencies, which are struggling to cope with millions displaced by several major wars. For several years after the 9/11 attacks, the US took in fewer refugees than its quota allowed.
In August, senior White House adviser Stephen Miller championed the president's support for a bill to favor immigrants based on their education, English-language ability and employment offers.
But most critics of the federal refugee resettlement program believe the number should be zero in FY 2018, due to the health risks, security risks, and costs associated with the federal refugee resettlement program.
The International Rescue Committee says the current number of refugees, 22.5 million, is the highest ever, a lot of them women and children. A federal court ruled that the United States must allow refugees who have "close" family ties in the country.
Following reports that the administration was planning to reduce the refugee intake even more in the 2018 fiscal year, the State Department confirmed the number would be smaller on Wednesday.
The lower refugee cap is a continuation of Trump's hardline stance on immigration.
These developments would not be surprising, given the president's statements suggesting that the US refugee resettlement program is a threat to national security.
Immigration law requires the administration to submit the refugee report to Congress before the start of each fiscal year, and then consult with top members of relevant committees prior to the start of the fiscal year on October 1. "It's really moving away from the commitments the government has had for protections of refugees from both Republican and Democratic administrations", he said.
In recent years, the number of refugees admitted has closely matched the cap, though there have been times, particularly during the George W. Bush administration, when admissions were well below the maximum.
Trump has already slashed refugee admissions once since taking office.
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