| Written By Corine Gatti-Santillo |
There will be another significant drop in refugee admittance into the U.S. as the Trump administration said it will sever admissions down to 18,000 in 2020, declining from 30,000 from last year. The refugee resettlement program which was the legal foundation for humanitarian admissions of refugees and asylum seekers to the United States began with the Refugee Act of 1980.
“This proposed refugee ceiling takes into account the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis on our southern border and the massive asylum backlog,” a senior administration official said September 26. The U.S. “became the second-highest destination for the world’s refugees in 2019, falling from the number one position for the first time in nearly 40 years,” the Daily Caller reported.
Faith-based refugee resettlement groups and organizations are incensed if the policy is pushed through. Church World Service President and CEO Rev. John L. McCullough answered with the following statement criticizing the move:
“With one final blow, the Trump administration has snuffed out Lady Liberty’s torch and ended our nation’s legacy of compassion and welcome. The darkness of this day will extend for years, if not decades, to come. This is nothing short of a refugee ban. Cutting America’s life-saving refugee program to such extreme lows is a terrible mistake that will put the lives of thousands of refugee families–the most desperate cases in the world–at dire risk. It will destroy the lives of former refugees in the United States who have been desperately waiting for their children, their parents, their most precious loved ones to arrive. It will destabilize key allies and destroy what is left of our nation’s moral example. It will annihilate the vital infrastructure and support services that the United States has taken decades to build…”
Pew Research found from fiscal 2008 to 2017, an average of 67,100 refugees arrived each year with half or more coming from Asia, Iraq and Burma (Myanmar). Since fiscal “1980, 55 percent of refugees have come from Asia, a far higher share than from Europe (27 percent), Africa (12 percent) or Latin America (4 percent).” Refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo outpaced those coming from other countries in 2019.
Trump also approved an executive order that a signed consent of state and local governments is needed before refugees can be resettled in that location.
Executive Order on Enhancing State and Local Involvement in Refugee Resettlement:
“In resettling refugees into American communities, it is the policy of the United States to cooperate and consult with State and local governments, to take into account the preferences of State governments, and to provide a pathway for refugees to become self-sufficient. These policies support each other. Close cooperation with State and local governments ensures that refugees are resettled in communities that are eager and equipped to support their successful integration into American society and the labor force.”
The refugee crises are on the rise worldwide, the highest since World War II, the United Nations refugee agency reported in June 2019.