In October of 2017, the Trump Administration set the refugee ceiling at its lowest level in nearly four decades. At just 45,000 refugees, the Trump Administration’s first ‘cap’ was the lowest set by any Administration since the Refugee Act of 1980 was passed into law and created our current system.
On September 17th, 2018, the Trump Administration announced even steeper cuts to the refugee cap. According to reporting from CBS Los Angeles, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that the United States will only accept a maximum of 30,000 refugees in the coming fiscal year.
The United States is Falling Far Behind Other Countries
With a population of nearly 330 million and the world’s largest GDP, the United States is well-positioned to be a global leader in refugee resettlement. Yet, under the leadership of President Trump, the U.S. is falling further and further behind. For perspective, Germany also cut its refugee limit early this year down to 200,000. Canada takes in more total refugees than the United States despite being just ten percent of the size. Other countries like Sweden and even Russia are also far above the United States.
The Trump Administration’s Reasoning is Deceptive
In justifying its decision to reduce the refugee ceiling, the Trump Administration is using reasoning that simply does not hold up. Aides like anti-immigration activist Stephen Miller point to the costs associated with the program and the backlog that already exists. Neither of these excuses makes sense.
The cost of refugee resettlement is barely a drop in the bucket of U.S. government spending. Further the Pentagon, which has reportedly tried to push the Administration to raise the cap, has pointed out that refugee resettlement creates global goodwill that more than makes up for any cost. That’s above and beyond it simply being the right thing to do.
As for the backlog, it only exists because the Trump Administration put the brakes on refugee resettlement in 2017. It slowed down vetting. By all accounts, this was done to try to damage the program and keep refugees from coming into the country.
Refugees Pay the Price of American Inaction
When countries like the United States fail to carry their weight, the burden is left on places with far less economic capacity. Refugees have to go somewhere. The largest refugee camps in the world are in border regions like Uganda, Pakistan, and Turkey. These countries share borders with heavy conflict zones (South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria, respectively) and they often do not have the capability to provide stability for refugees. The United States should be a global leader in refugee resettlement, but we are barely participating at all. Refugees deserve better.
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At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are committed advocates for immigrants. If you or a family member needs legal guidance in Southern California, please do not hesitate to call our Los Angeles law office to arrange a fully confidential consultation.