Trump Administration Misses Opportunity to Suspend Refugee Program, Sets FY 2018 Ceiling at 45,000

Refugee Resettlement Andrew Caballero-ReynoldsAFPGetty Images
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Late Wednesday the Trump administration submitted a report to Congress setting the presidential determination of the ceiling for refugee admissions at 45,000 for FY 2018.

The Refugee Act of 1980 requires that the president submit such a determination prior to the beginning of each fiscal year. The number of refugees ultimately resettled in that fiscal year is a result of subsequent negotiations between Congress, which authorizes the budget expenditures for the refugee admissions program, and the Administration.

That represents about a 17 percent decline in the number of refugees admitted in FY 2017, which ends on Saturday and is expected to be around 54,000. It is a little more than half of the 84,995 admitted in FY 2016, but is at the same level as the 45,000 refugees admitted annually during the George W. Bush administration over the seven years between FY 2002 and FY 2008.

“The administration proposed taking in a maximum of 19,000 refugees from Africa, 5,000 from East Asia, 2,000 from Europe and Central Asia, 1,500 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 17,500 from the Middle East and South Asia, the report [to Congress] said,” Reuters reported.

Earlier press reports indicated that the 45,000 number was a compromise between the Department of State, which wanted 50,000, and the Department of Homeland Security, which wanted 40,000.

White House domestic policy chief Stephen Miller reportedly wanted 20,000.

But most critics of the federal refugee resettlement program believe the number should be zero in FY 2018, due to the health risks, security risks, and costs associated with the federal refugee resettlement program.

“Donald Trump missed a fabulous opportunity to suspend the entire refugee admissions program, at least on a temporary basis, until we get back on our feet in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico,” Ann Corcoran, who runs the Refugee Resettlement Watch website, tells Breitbart News.

“What happened to America first?” she asks.

“Look at the optics. We’re going to bring in 45,000 refugees from the Third World — starting on Sunday — when we have Americans suffering, people in Puerto Rico, right now. They are, effectively, American refugees, and are the only refugees we should be helping right now,” Corcoran says.

“Refugee resettlement agencies are disappointed with the 45,000 cap, which they say falls far short of what’s necessary to meet growing humanitarian needs around the world. They had recommended a limit of at least 75,000,” NPR reported.

“Churches and communities, employers and mayors, are heartsick at the administration’s callous and tragic decision to deny welcome to refugees most in need,” Linda Hartke, the president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, one of the top nine voluntary agencies (VOLAGS) who are collectively paid more than $1 billion annually by the federal government to resettle refugees, told NPR.


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