Today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Administration’s intention to set the refugee admissions level for Fiscal Year 2019 at 30,000, the lowest number ever in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Refugee Council USA, a coalition of resettlement agencies and other organizations that promote robust protections for refugees, asylees, and other vulnerable people in need of humanitarian assistance, is deeply disappointed in this retrenchment of U.S. leadership and deeply concerned about the impact of this decision on vulnerable refugees needing resettlement.
Mary Giovagnoli, RCUSA Executive Director, noted: “As a generous and compassionate country, the United States has a long, proud tradition of welcoming refugees. With today’s announcement, the United States is turning its back on thousands of vulnerable refugee families in harm’s way and abandoning its historic global leadership role in refugee protection and resettlement. The reduction in refugee admissions for Fiscal Year 2019 is part of a systematic effort by the Trump administration to tear down humanitarian programs long afforded bipartisan support that local communities built over decades. The deliberate step-by-painful-step decimation of the resettlement program not only harms vulnerable refugee families and the communities that are ready to welcome them, but also strains the resources and threatens the stability of smaller, poorer refugee host countries left to fill the void created by the withdrawal of U.S. leadership.
But hope is not lost.
We still have the desire, capacity, and resources to welcome at least 75,000 refugees to the United States in the coming year. And we will spend every waking moment looking for ways to do just that as part of restoring the strong American tradition of welcoming refugees.