Monday, August 19, 2019

U.S. cuts the number of refugees allowed to enter the country, sets a record low

President Trump plans to cap the number of refugees that can be resettled in the United States next year at 30,000, his administration announced yesterday.

Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, announced the limit at the State Department, saying it reflected the “daunting operational reality” of addressing what he called a “humanitarian crisis” involving people claiming asylum in the United States.

The number represents the lowest ceiling a president has placed on the refugee program since its creation in 1980. The move is the latest in a series of efforts the president has made to clamp down on immigration to the United States, not only through cracking down on those who seek to enter the country illegally, but by making it more difficult to gain legal entry.

Mr. Pompeo said refugees had to be weighed against a backlog of 800,000 asylum seekers who are awaiting a decision by immigration authorities about whether they qualify as in need of protection under United States law and will be granted status to remain. Immigrant and advocates condemned the cuts to the refugee program, calling it a callous decision that would also undermine American national security and foreign policy priorities.

Nazanin Ash, the vice president for policy and advocacy at the International Rescue Committee, accused the Trump administration of piling on after attacks on the American asylum system, failing to protect unaccompanied minors at the border and withdrawing temporary protected status for Haitians, Salvadorans, Hondurans and others.

“This was an opportunity for the administration to show its humanitarian heart,” Ms. Ash said. “In justifying its policy intention, the administration has pitted those seeking asylum against refugees,” she said. “The administration has the resources it needs to effectively administer both programs, as historic admissions levels prove.”

NY TIMES