In the eight days since Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, from November 9 to November 16, the Obama administration has brought 2,653 refugees into the country, a slightly higher rate than the 12,472 refugees brought in during the first forty days of FY 2017, according to the State Department’s interactive website.
Trump was elected on a platform that called for the suspension of the Syrian refugee program and an overall reduction in the total number of refugees brought into the country. His defeated opponent, Hillary Clinton, supported a 550 percent increase in Syrian refugees and an overall increase in the total number of refugees brought into the country.
The message the people of the United States delivered on Election Day appears not to have been heeded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration — the two agencies in the federal government with statutory responsibility for resettling refugees.
A Breitbart-Gravis poll conducted the week prior to the election showed that, by a 59 percent to 28 percent margin, voters opposed increasing the number of refugees resettled in the country.
The post-election FY 2017 daily rate of new refugee arrivals is 331. The pre-election FY 2017 daily rate of new refugee arrivals was 311.
The story is the same for the arrival of Syrian refugees.
In the eight days since Trump won the election, the Obama administration has brought 338 Syrian refugees into the country, or 42 each day, a slightly higher rate than the 1,602 Syrian refugees, or 40 each day, brought in during the first forty days of FY 2017.
From October 1 to November 16, the Obama administration brought in a total of 15,125 refugees, an annualized run rate of approximately 117,000 refugees.
This is a higher rate than the 110,000 refugees the Obama administration has proposed to Congress in the FY Budget that has yet to be passed, and significantly higher than the 85,000 refugees who were resettled in the United States during FY 2016.
From October 1 to November 16, the Obama administration brought in a total of 1,950 Syrian refugees, an annualized run rate of approximately 15,000 Syrian refugees, which is 20 percent higher than the 12,500 Syrian refugees resettled in the country during FY 2016.
Currently, the federal government is operating under an interim ten week budget that expires on December 9.
Such interim budgets usually continue funding for all federal departments and agencies at the level of the prior fiscal year.
That fact raises an obvious question: Where are the Office of Refugee Resettlement and the Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration obtaining the additional funds to resettle refugees at a higher rate during the first month-and-a-half of FY 2017 than it did during FY 2016?
The other question is this: How will the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, and the voluntary agencies (VOLAGs) hired by the federal government to resettle refugees respond when President Trump suspends the Syrian refugee program, the refugee programs from other countries that are hostile to the United States (most likely Somalia would be included in this list), and enforces the “consultation clause” of the Refugee Act of 1980?
At a campaign rally in Minneapolis two days before Election Day, President-elect Trump said, “a Trump administration will not admit any refugees without the support of the local community where they are being placed.”
“Current law leaves refugee admissions up to presidential discretion, and he could accomplish this on Day One,” David Bier of the Cato Institute told the Thompsons Reuter Foundation a day after Trump’s win.
“[B]arring refugees from countries with large Muslim populations would be easy to enforce and, assuming no reallocation, could reduce refugee flows by 40 percent,” Bier added.
The Obama administration has 65 more days until President-elect Trump’s inauguration on January 21, 2017. There is no indication that it intends to reduce the rate of refugee arrivals in the country between now and then.
How quickly the incoming Trump administration will be able to implement its new refugee policies will depend on two factors: the types and timing of executive orders the new president will sign related to refugee policy, and the rapidity with which it appoints a new director of Office of Refugee Resettlement and assistant secretary for the State Department Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.