Trump signs order cutting refugee quota to lowest level since 1980

x

Embed

x

Share

CLOSE

The Trump administration told Congress it wants to cap the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. at 45,000 during the next fiscal year.
Video provided by Newsy
Newslook

WASHINGTON — President Trump signed an order Friday lowering the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year to 45,000 — the lowest cap since Congress passed the Refugee Act in 1980.

That’s a 59% reduction from the ceiling set by President Barack Obama just a year ago, and the largest one-year change in history. And it comes amid a global refugee crisis that international relief groups have called the worst since World War II. 

Even under Trump’s numbers, the United States permanently resettles more refugees than any other country.

The lower quotas will affect refugees from every corner of the world, but will be most pronounced in the region the State Department calls the Near East and South Asia. That region accounts for 40% of refugees entering the United States, including Syria and Iraq.

In addition to refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East and famine in Africa, an estimated 480,000 Rohingya refugees — more than half of whom are children — have fled Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh in just the past few weeks.

The new quota comes less than a week after Trump signed a proclamation instituting a travel ban from the nations of Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Yemen and Somalia. Those countries alone account for 30% of the refugee admissions so far this year.

Beyond those numbers, a State Department report to Congress this week outlined other changes to refugee polices that prioritize the resettlement of refugees in their country of origin, or in third countries where the refugees first flee.

The report, which hasn’t been released but was obtained by USA TODAY from congressional staffers, justifies the lower numbers as a resource issue. The Trump administration cites the need for more enhanced screening and other priorities, including political asylum claims.

At a speech at the United Nations last week, Trump insisted that the United States “is a compassionate nation and has spent billions and billions of dollars” to support refugees.

But he said the goal should be to host refugees “as close to their home countries as possible,” eventually returning them to their homes. “This is the safe, responsible, and humanitarian approach,” he said.

Refugee advocates blasted Trump’s approach as “heartless,” “unconscionable” and “shameful” — but not unexpected.

“The truth is, obviously, Trumnp signaled from the day he announced his campaign that immigrants and refugees were in his crosshairs,” said Lavinia Limon of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. The 45,000 number, she said, “is better than we might have hoped for.”

More: Analysis: At U.N., Trump calls for a ‘great reawakening of nations’ to confront evil

More: More than half of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are ‘traumatized’ children

The number would still make the United States the world’s top destination for refugees permanently resettling in a third country — by absolute numbers, if not by percentage of population. But advocates said it signals a retreat in U.S. leadership on humanitarian issues across the globe.

“First of all, it sends a statement to the rest of the world that we’re pulling back,” Limon said. “And when we pull back, they pull back.”

The report to Congress also puts an emphasis on the cultural assimilation and employment of refugees into the United States, a policy change that experts said was “new and extremely controversial.”

“Refugees are supposed to be selected on the grounds of their need for protection, not on the basis of what they can contribute to the U.S.,” said Kathleen Newland, co-founder of the Migration Policy Institute, a think tank that advocates for better management of international migration. “It certainly erodes the humanitarian values of the program and blurs the distinction between refugees and migrants.”

The Refugee Act was signed into law by President Carter in 1980 to address Russian Jews fleeing persecution and Vietnamese “boat people” fleeing in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. That year, refugee admissions into the United States exceeded 200,000. It spiked again in the early 1990s in response to the Balkan crisis, but over the last 38 years the average ceiling has been about 96,000.

A year ago, President Obama had set the refugee ceiling for 2017 at 110,000, the highest number since 1995. But seven days after taking office, Trump signed an executive order reducing that number to 50,000. 

That number was cast as a temporary measure while the Trump administration could institute “extreme vetting” procedures focused on countries it said were hotbeds of terrorism.  

Under the Refugee Act of 1980, the president must sign an annual declaration setting the refugee quota for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

That declaration is supposed to follow consultations with Congress, but congressional leaders — both Democrats and Republicans — have said they’re frustrated by the lack of input.

“An eleventh-hour meeting to check a legal box is not sufficient,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement. 

– Julia Fair contributed 

Posted!

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.

Trump waves after arriving on Air Force One on Sept.Trump speaks during the United Nations General Assembly11-year-old Frank FX Giaccio gets a pat on the backThe Trumps observe a moment of silence on Sept. 11,Trump gestures to onlookers as he walks with firstPresident Trump boards Air Force One at Ellington FieldPresident Trump holds the state flag of Texas outsideThe Trumps prepare to depart from the White House onTrump speaks at a rally in Phoenix on Aug. 22, 2017.The Trumps view the solar eclipse from the Truman BalconyTrump walks out of the elevator to speak to the mediaTrump pauses while speaking about the violence in Charlottesville,Trump arrives to speak at a rally in Huntington, W.Va.,Trump arrives at Andrews Air Force Base after namingTrump, accompanied by Vice President Pence and HealthTrump, flanked by Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and TimTrump holds a proclamation for Made in America DayFrench President Emmanuel Macron and Trump speak asTrump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a meetingTrump walks with South Korean President Moon Jae-inPresident Trump and Indian Prime Minister NarendraTrump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White HouseTrump smiles as he walks with his daughter Ivanka acrossTrump waves to the crowd after delivering a speechTrump announces his decision for the United StatesTrump joins G7 leaders for a photo at the Ancient GreekPope Francis greets Trump at the Vatican on May 24,The president and first lady step off Air Force OneTrump touches the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old CityTrump speaks during the Arabic Islamic American SummitTrump meets with Henry Kissinger in the Oval OfficePresident Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and other congressionalTrump pauses as he speaks at the Pennsylvania FarmPresident Trump speaks during the National Rifle Association-ILASecretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke listens whileTrump prepares to award a Purple Heart to U.S. ArmyTrump waves as he and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinNew England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, PresidentTrump joins attendees at the Easter Egg Roll to writeTrump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White HouseTrump pumps his fist as he and Chinese President XiPresident Trump walks to the podium to speak aboutPresident Trump and Jordan's King Abdullah II holdPresident Trump, flanked by Health and Human ServicesTrump gets in the driver's seat of an 18-wheeler whilePresident Trump speaks during a meeting with CongressionalTrump holds a NASA flight jacket presented to him byTrump and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom PriceTrump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel walk downTrump talks with House Speaker Paul Ryan on CapitolTrump speaks to auto workers at the American CenterTrump holds up a note and drawing depicting him thatTrump gestures as he surprises visitors during theTrump walks with grandchildren Arabella Kushner andTrump tours the Combat Direction Center on the pre-commissionedPresident Trump speaks before a joint session of CongressTrump holds up an executive order to bolster historicallyTrump reaches out to shake hands with Army Lt. Gen.The Trumps attend a campaign-style rally on Feb. 18,President Trump walks with his grandchildren ArabellaTrump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuTrump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos attend aTrump looks on as Steven Mnuchin is sworn in as TreasuryTrump meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauTrump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe listenPresident Trump speaks to Democratic and RepublicanIntel CEO Brian Krzanich speaks during a meeting withTrump holds up a gift given to him by county sheriffsPresident Trump has lunch with troops during a visitThe Trumps watch the Super Bowl at a party at TrumpThe Trumps arrive for the 60th Annual Red Cross GalaWhite House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and ViceTrump shakes hands with Neil Gorsuch, his Supreme CourtPresident Trump speaks on the phone with German ChancellorTrump shakes hands with Defense Secretary James MattisTrump greets British Prime Minister Theresa May asSenate Majority Whip John Cornyn and Senate MajorityTrump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force BaseTrump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, givesTrump reads from one of the executive orders he signedTrump displays one of five executive actions he signedTrump speaks during a reception for House and SenateTrump signs executive actions in the Oval Office onTrump meets with business leaders on Jan. 23, 2017,President Trump holds a letter left for him by formerTrump speaks at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.,The Trumps and Pences attend the Freedom Ball on Jan.Trump is joined by the congressional leadership andTrump and Obama arrive for Trump's inauguration luncheonThe Trumps and Obamas  stand on the steps of the  U.S.Trump delivers his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 2017,

  • Trump waves after arriving on Air Force One on Sept.1 of 91
  • Trump speaks during the United Nations General Assembly2 of 91
  • 11-year-old Frank FX Giaccio gets a pat on the back3 of 91
  • The Trumps observe a moment of silence on Sept. 11,4 of 91
  • Trump gestures to onlookers as he walks with first5 of 91
  • President Trump boards Air Force One at Ellington Field6 of 91
  • President Trump holds the state flag of Texas outside7 of 91
  • The Trumps prepare to depart from the White House on8 of 91
  • Trump speaks at a rally in Phoenix on Aug. 22, 2017.9 of 91
  • The Trumps view the solar eclipse from the Truman Balcony10 of 91
  • Trump walks out of the elevator to speak to the media11 of 91
  • Trump pauses while speaking about the violence in Charlottesville,12 of 91
  • Trump arrives to speak at a rally in Huntington, W.Va.,13 of 91
  • Trump arrives at Andrews Air Force Base after naming14 of 91
  • Trump, accompanied by Vice President Pence and Health15 of 91
  • Trump, flanked by Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Tim16 of 91
  • Trump holds a proclamation for Made in America Day17 of 91
  • French President Emmanuel Macron and Trump speak as18 of 91
  • Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold a meeting19 of 91
  • Trump walks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in20 of 91
  • President Trump and Indian Prime Minister Narendra21 of 91
  • Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House22 of 91
  • Trump smiles as he walks with his daughter Ivanka across23 of 91
  • Trump waves to the crowd after delivering a speech24 of 91
  • Trump announces his decision for the United States25 of 91
  • Trump joins G7 leaders for a photo at the Ancient Greek26 of 91
  • Pope Francis greets Trump at the Vatican on May 24,27 of 91
  • The president and first lady step off Air Force One28 of 91
  • Trump touches the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City29 of 91
  • Trump speaks during the Arabic Islamic American Summit30 of 91
  • Trump meets with Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office31 of 91
  • President Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and other congressional32 of 91
  • Trump pauses as he speaks at the Pennsylvania Farm33 of 91
  • President Trump speaks during the National Rifle Association-ILA34 of 91
  • Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke listens while35 of 91
  • Trump prepares to award a Purple Heart to U.S. Army36 of 91
  • Trump waves as he and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin37 of 91
  • New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, President38 of 91
  • Trump joins attendees at the Easter Egg Roll to write39 of 91
  • Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House40 of 91
  • Trump pumps his fist as he and Chinese President Xi41 of 91
  • President Trump walks to the podium to speak about42 of 91
  • President Trump and Jordan's King Abdullah II hold43 of 91
  • President Trump, flanked by Health and Human Services44 of 91
  • Trump gets in the driver's seat of an 18-wheeler while45 of 91
  • President Trump speaks during a meeting with Congressional46 of 91
  • Trump holds a NASA flight jacket presented to him by47 of 91
  • Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price48 of 91
  • Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel walk down49 of 91
  • Trump talks with House Speaker Paul Ryan on Capitol50 of 91
  • Trump speaks to auto workers at the American Center51 of 91
  • Trump holds up a note and drawing depicting him that52 of 91
  • Trump gestures as he surprises visitors during the53 of 91
  • Trump walks with grandchildren Arabella Kushner and54 of 91
  • Trump tours the Combat Direction Center on the pre-commissioned55 of 91
  • President Trump speaks before a joint session of Congress56 of 91
  • Trump holds up an executive order to bolster historically57 of 91
  • Trump reaches out to shake hands with Army Lt. Gen.58 of 91
  • The Trumps attend a campaign-style rally on Feb. 18,59 of 91
  • President Trump walks with his grandchildren Arabella60 of 91
  • Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu61 of 91
  • Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos attend a62 of 91
  • Trump looks on as Steven Mnuchin is sworn in as Treasury63 of 91
  • Trump meets with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau64 of 91
  • Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe listen65 of 91
  • President Trump speaks to Democratic and Republican66 of 91
  • Intel CEO Brian Krzanich speaks during a meeting with67 of 91
  • Trump holds up a gift given to him by county sheriffs68 of 91
  • President Trump has lunch with troops during a visit69 of 91
  • The Trumps watch the Super Bowl at a party at Trump70 of 91
  • The Trumps arrive for the 60th Annual Red Cross Gala71 of 91
  • White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Vice72 of 91
  • Trump shakes hands with Neil Gorsuch, his Supreme Court73 of 91
  • President Trump speaks on the phone with German Chancellor74 of 91
  • Trump shakes hands with Defense Secretary James Mattis75 of 91
  • Trump greets British Prime Minister Theresa May as76 of 91
  • Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn and Senate Majority77 of 91
  • Trump boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base78 of 91
  • Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, gives79 of 91
  • Trump reads from one of the executive orders he signed80 of 91
  • Trump displays one of five executive actions he signed81 of 91
  • Trump speaks during a reception for House and Senate82 of 91
  • Trump signs executive actions in the Oval Office on83 of 91
  • Trump meets with business leaders on Jan. 23, 2017,84 of 91
  • President Trump holds a letter left for him by former85 of 91
  • Trump speaks at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.,86 of 91
  • The Trumps and Pences attend the Freedom Ball on Jan.87 of 91
  • Trump is joined by the congressional leadership and88 of 91
  • Trump and Obama arrive for Trump's inauguration luncheon89 of 91
  • The Trumps and Obamas  stand on the steps of the  U.S.90 of 91
  • Trump delivers his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 2017,91 of 91

Last SlideNext Slide

 

Article source: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/462492720/0/usatodaycomwashington-topstories~Trump-signs-order-cutting-refugee-quota-to-lowest-level-since/