US Slashes Number of Refugees to 30,000 for Next Year
USA — September 18, 2018
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday announced that the United States will cap the number of refugees allowed into the country at 30,000 for the fiscal year 2019 that starts on Oct. 1, a move rights advocates described as "shameful" and "outrageous".
Despite the ceiling, the actual number of people allowed could be lower.
Pompeo said the cap "must be considered in the context of the many other forms of protection and assistance offered by the United States" and should not be the "sole barometer” by which the country’s humanitarian efforts are measured.
The hardline stand demonstrates President Trump’s firm resolve to push forth hardline immigration policies in the run-up to the November midterm elections despite his controversial “zero tolerance” border enforcement policy that led to thousands of families being separated, and a court order to reunify parents and children.
This approach is contrary to the approach taken during the Obama administration wherein during his last year in the government, the country welcomed nearly 85,000 refugees.
In addition to lower admissions overall, the type of refugee being admitted since Trump took charge gas also changed. The percentage of Muslim refugees is now a third of what it was two years ago whereas the percentage of European refugees has tripled.
Pompeo cited national security as a major factor in the policy formation, describing the previous asylum system as “defective” and not in tune with realities of the current world, a system that could easily be manipulated by terrorists to enter the country. He also stressed the need to return “integrity” to the overall U.S. asylum system.
Refugee advocates were quick to condemn the lowering of the cap.
"Today's announcement… is a shameful abdication of our humanity in the face of the worst refugee crisis in history," Jennifer Quigley, of Human Rights First, said in a statement.
“Outrageous,” cried Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal in an attempt to lodge her protest to the new ceiling.
"The Trump administration already accepted a historically low amount of refugees," Jayapal tweeted.
The Trump administration already accepted a historically low amount of refugees. These new restrictions are outrageous.— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) September 17, 2018
I came here at age 16 as an immigrant and today I am a congresswoman. Who could these refugees fleeing violence be if we gave them the chance? https://t.co/eGqVKMEt1U
Ryan Mace, a refugee specialist at Amnesty International, said the announcement "demonstrates another undeniable political attack against people who have been forced to flee their homes."
He added in a statement: "This is the lowest goal in the history of the program and compounded by this administration's history of creating road block after road block for refugees to arrive, this must be perceived as an all-out attack against our country's ability to resettle refugees both now and in the future."