Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Reaction to Trump's Reduction of Refugee Numbers to 30,000

From the Quaker lobby:

The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has long opposed the Trump Administration’s low refugee admissions goals. The White House announced late yesterday that it is committed to resettling only 30,000 for FY2019—the lowest in the resettlement program’s history.

“Quakers have long advocated that we must welcome refugees. It is our moral responsibility and opportunity to care for and protect one another,” said Diane Randall, Executive Secretary for FCNL. “Children and their families are among those refugees who are desperate for security and freedom; the people of the United States have the ability to open our hearts and our communities to help. We will faithfully work to reverse course.”

In 2017, the White House set the refugee admissions goal at 45,000—the lowest since the program’s inception in 1980. Due to a series of refugee bans and increases in bureaucratic barriers, the U.S. is not even on track to resettle half that number this year. Instead of committing to catching up, the administration opted to set an even lower goal for FY 2019. The number was also set without any meaningful consultation with Congress as required by law.

An estimated 65 million people are displaced worldwide—an unprecedented 22.5 million of whom are refugees fleeing to other countries. Additionally, between 75 and 80 percent of refugees and internally displaced people are women and children.

“In light of the worst global refugee crisis in history, this low refugee admissions goal is another tone-deaf demonstration of our nation’s failure to fulfill our faithful responsibility to welcome the stranger,” explained Hannah Graf Evans, FCNL’s Legislative Representative for Immigration and Refugee Policy. “Our nation has historically led the way when it comes to permanent refugee resettlement, and we have the capacity right now to do far more than we actually are.”

FCNL calls on Congress and the White House to work to remedy root causes of violent conflict that drive people from their homes instead of preventing those seeking safety, security, and peace from finding it here in the United States.

For more information, please visit www.fcnl.org

From the Center for American Progress:

Washington, D.C. — In response to the Trump administration’s announcement that the fiscal year 2019 refugee admission cap will be 30,000, an all-time low, Kelly Magsamen, vice president for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

The announcement tonight by the Trump administration that it will reduce the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States to 30,000—the lowest level in the history of the refugee program—is not just immoral and shameful but also bad for U.S. national security and prosperity.

American refugee programs have been an important tool of our foreign policy and have contributed to our global reputation and security. They have also allowed us to rally others to do more. Refugees go through intensive vetting, contribute every day to the American economy and enrich our society. Through this cynical move meant to stoke his base for short term gain, President Donald Trump has once again made sure that America will be seen as retreating not leading, with long-term consequences for US national security.

Tom Jawetz, vice president of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, added:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo implored us to judge this administration’s commitment to humanitarian protection not only by its decision to set the lowest refugee admissions target in history, but also by its treatment of asylum seekers and people permitted to live and work in this country with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This was a none too subtle reminder of the Trump administration’s methodical dismantling of our asylum system and its decision to end TPS for more than 300,000 people—even over the objections of seasoned State Department personnel, who warned that these decisions would endanger returnees and undermine U.S. security.

Only a few months ago, this administration took more than 2,600 children from their parents—many of whom were coerced into forfeiting their right to request asylum and tricked into returning to their country of origin without their child. Still today, hundreds of kids remain separated from their parents, some perhaps permanently orphaned. Secretary Pompeo framed his remarks yesterday as a request that the administration be judged on the totality of its record regarding the treatment of the most vulnerable people seeking protection. As ugly as the shamefully low refugee admissions target is, things only look worse when put into perspective.



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