President Trump has ordered that the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the U.S. in the coming year be nearly cut in half to 18,000, down from the administration’s previous refugee ceiling of 30,000.
The limit represents the lowest number of refugees allowed into the country since the modern refugee program was established in 1980.
The new limit would also be a more than 80% decline compared to the last year of the Obama administration, when the U.S. allowed up to 110,000 refugees who were fleeing war, persecution and poverty to resettle in America.
The administration argues it is still dealing with a humanitarian and security crisis along the southern border, where tens of thousands of asylum seekers are arriving every month.
According to senior administration officials who briefing reporters on Thursday, the U.S. will accept up to 5,000 people fleeing religious persecution, a maximum of 4,000 Iraqis who have assisted the U.S. and no more than 1,500 people from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. An additional 7,500 asylum-seekers could be accepted who do not fit those categories.
“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. “Prioritizing the humanitarian protection cases of those already in our country is simply a matter of fairness and common sense.”
Immigration rights advocates swiftly criticized the new asylum limits, which is expected to face challenges in court.
Daryl Grisgraber of Oxfam America called the announcement “immoral and un-American.”
“In their senseless quest to keep foreigners out, this administration proves they are willing to abandon our nation’s founding principles and outright reject human rights,” Grisgraber said.
Separately, Trump issued an executive order to allow states and localities to refuse the resettlement of refugees in their communities.
Ryan Mace with Amnesty International USA slammed both moves.
“To cut the number of refugees the U.S. will accept to this low of a number reflects nothing more than this administration’s attempts to further hate, division, and prejudice in a country that once valued dignity, equality, and fairness.”
Be the first to write a comment.