Trump Administration Slashes Limit on Refugees to a Historic Low of 18,000

President Donald Trump delivers an address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, at the U.S. Capitol. This is the President's first Address to Congress of his presidency.

President Donald Trump delivers an address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, at the U.S. Capitol. This is the President's first Address to Congress of his presidency. Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

On Thursday, President Trump’s administration announced its plans of lowering the admittance cap of refugees admitted into the U.S. to 18,000 in the fiscal year of 2020. This would be the lowest number of refugees allowed into the country since the refugee program was founded over forty years ago and over 80 percent less than the 110,000 cap that former President Obama signed into effect in his final year in office.

Make America Great Again

In 2018 President Trump lowered the number of refugees that the U.S. would accept to 30,000, this number represents the largest amount of refugees that are allowed, legally, into the country. On September 26, Trump signed an executive order which lowers the refugee cap to 18,000, he also signed a second executive order which states that cities and states must provide written consent before accepting refugees. [1]

According to senior administration officials who spoke with reporters on Thursday afternoon, the new refugee cap will be divided into four categories. The U.S. will accept up to 5,000 refugees who are running from religious persecution, 4,000 Iraquis who have assisted the U.S. military in the past, and no more than 1,500 people from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The remaining 7,500 refugees will consist of people who do not fall under one of the other three categories- those seeking reunion with family or those who have already been approved for resettlement. [2]

Protecting Americans

Although many Democrats have called this an “immoral and un-American” [3] act, Senior officials at the White House have defended the executive order against criticism, saying that the U.S. needs to focus more on protecting those already inside of the U.S. “At the core of the Trump Administration’s foreign policy is a commitment to make decisions based on reality, not wishes,” the State Department said in a statement when it announced the new policy.

“The current burdens on the U.S. immigration system must be alleviated before it is again possible to resettle large number of refugees,” the administration said in a statement, referring to the backlog of cases in immigration courts. “Prioritizing the humanitarian protection cases of those already in our country is simply a matter of fairness and common sense.”

The current refugee program was established in 1980, and up until this point has always accepted over 20,000 refugees each fiscal year. This is the third time that Trump has lowered the cap, as he continues to crack down on illegal immigration before the 2020 elections.

 


Notes:

  1. ^Executive Order on Enhancing State and Local Involvement in Refugee Resettlement | The White House.” White House, 27 Sept. 2019, www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-enhancing-state-local-involvement-refugee-resettlement. (go back↩)
  2. ^Nakamura, David, et al. “Trump administration slashes refugee limit for the third consecutive year to a historic low of 18,000.” Washington Post, 26 Sept. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-administration-proposes-slashing-refugee-limit-for-the-third-consecutive-year-to-a-historic-low-of-18000/2019/09/26/3a554a60-e0a4-11e9-be96-6adb81821e90_story.html. (go back↩)
  3. ^Trump Administration Drastically Cuts Number Of Refugees Allowed To Enter The U.S.” NPR.org, 26 Sept. 2019, www.npr.org/2019/09/26/764839236/trump-administration-drastically-cuts-number-of-refugees-allowed-to-enter-the-u. (go back↩)

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