Trump admin seeks dramatic cuts to refugee admissions

29 September, 2017, 00:34 | Author: Pamela Mathis
  • Trump admin seeks dramatic cuts to refugee admissions

Earlier press reports indicated that the 45,000 number was a compromise between the Department of State, which wanted 50,000, and the Department of Homeland Security, which wanted 40,000.

She said other countries might try to follow suit by closing the door to more refugees. "For the Trump administration to become an accomplice to that is heartbreaking".

The International Rescue Committee says the current number of refugees, 22.5 million, is the highest ever, a lot of them women and children. They argue that the turmoil in Syria has caused a broken system in which the U.S. in unable to access databases to determine the background of would-be refugees.

There are at least 58,000 refugees who were ready for travel under the 2017 fiscal year quota and weren't able to come to the United States because of Trump's lower 2017 cap, said Jen Smyers, of the refugee resettlement agency Church World Service.

The official said the administration will propose admitting 19,000 from Africa, 5,000 from Asia, 1,500 from all of Latin America and the Caribbean, and 17,000 from the Middle East and South Asia.

For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, he said, the USA can assist more than 10 migrants in their home regions.

"The security and safety of the American people is our chief concern", the official said.

While refugee advocates are disappointed in the Trump administration cap, security analysts say the tougher screening - particularly for Syrians - is a necessity.

Refugee advocacy groups said that while previous consultations had been close to the deadline set for announcing the cap, it was unusual for the report to be sent to Congress on the same day as the consultation meeting. "And yet many of them have proven resilient over time and become very productive members of society". The State Department declined to comment on potential figures ahead of a presidential announcement. Also, asylum applicants who meet threshold criteria are allowed to wait inside the usa while their applications are considered, while refugees are often living in desperate conditions.

That figure fell below 45,000 several years after the terrorist attacks in 2001. In a proposal submitted late last week, the department called for a reduction to 40,000 refugees in the next budget year starting October 1, citing concerns about its workload and ability to adequately vet those seeking entry. The ceiling has never slipped below 67,000, the number set by then President Ronald Reagan in 1986.

"You can assert whatever you want to assert but the facts just simply bely this preposterous argument", said Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International. Trump aimed at reducing that figure to 50,000. A year ago, former President Barack Obama said the USA would accept as many as 110,000 refugees in 2017.

"With historically high numbers of innocent people fleeing violence worldwide, the United States response can not be to welcome a historically low number of refugees into our country", said Bill O'Keefe of the Catholic Relief Services, an organization that works on resettling refugees globally.

David Inserra from the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation said Congress should have more of a say in setting the cap to avoid radical swings in the numbers when there is a change in administrations. A September 2016 study by the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute found that of 3.3 million refugees admitted to the United States between 1975 through 2015, 20 were convicted of planning or committing a terrorist attack on USA soil.


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