Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced what the Trump administration has called “the new refugee ceiling.” It’s the lowest number of refugees allowed in the U.S. since just after 9/11. (Though, by the final years of the Bush administration, the number was raised dramatically.)
Next year, just 30,000 refugees—who are fleeing violence, persecution, poverty and instability in their own countries—will be admitted into the U.S. This comes at a time when the U.S. job market and economy have been surging.
By comparison, the U.S. allowed nearly 85,000 refugees into the country in 2016. Since his crackdown on immigration, Trump has repeatedly cut that number.
Pompeo said that country will process 280,000 asylum seekers next year, though he said there was a backlog of at least 800,000 asylum cases.
Pompeo claim that the new measure “serves the national security interests” despite the fact the current vetting program seems to be working: Since the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program was established in 1980, not a single American has been killed in an act of terrorism perpetrated by a refugee, even though hundreds of thousands have been allowed into the country.
Right now, there are more than 25 million global refugees who have been forced to flee their countries.
With just two weeks left in Fiscal Year 2018, the U.S. has admitted fewer than 21,000 #refugees, which makes clear that the Administration sees this [new] ceiling merely as a maximum, not as a goal. Read the full press statement here. ➝ https://t.co/jpUOuc2fw5 #Welcome75k pic.twitter.com/naOTMNgdle
— World Relief (@WorldRelief) September 18, 2018
In a statement, the CEO of World Relief—a Christian organization that specializes in refugee resettlement—Tim Breen said:
This repeated reduction in the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. is incredibly troubling. Not only is it a continuation of a series of unprecedented attacks on our American values and on the humanitarian nature of the refugee resettlement program, but it falls far short of helping the large number vulnerable people around the world. This is just another step in the systematic dismantling of a program that exists to shelter people who need our support and protection. America can do better.
The group’s president, Scott Arbeiter, added:
A cap of 30,000 jeopardizes the safety of future refugees, including persecuted Christians, who will no longer be able to find refuge in the U.S., nor does it reflect the actual capacity or willingness of Americans to receive and resettle refugees. This decision contradicts the administration’s declared commitment to helping persecuted Christian and religious minorities in dangerous and oppressive countries. Evangelicals should be concerned by this assault against our call to support ‘the least of these.’