Trump Administration Announces Near Shutdown of Refugee Admissions for FY 2020
NEW YORK, NY—Today, the Trump administration announced a near shutdown of the refugee admissions program, creating a virtual ban on refugees.This, when coupled with the asylum ban instituted earlier this month, effectively terminates the United States’ humanitarian immigration program completely.
"Trump’s war on asylum seekers and vulnerable refugees is no secret, but today we reached a new low. The Administration's decision to deeply slash the country’s refugee program is an insult to all the refugees that America has historically welcomed—and it's also a major threat to the economic and cultural vitality of New York. Refugees have stabilized cities and made large contributions to our economy and communities from Brentwood to Buffalo—home to the largest community of refugees in New York State. We call on all New Yorkers to contact their elected officials today to ask them to reject this immoral and heartless action which hurts not only our moral leadership around the globe, but the well-being of the whole state," said Steven Choi, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition.
As part of the infamous Muslim ban executive order in January 2017, the Trump administration suspended all refugee admissions for a time and slashed the annual admissions number of 110,000 set by President Obama to 50,000 persons. In fiscal year 2018, the President slashed refugee admissions again, to 45,000 persons, and in 2019, to 30,000 (although the actual number of refugees admitted in fiscal year 2018 was only 22,491), and has now set refugee numbers for 2020 at 18,000. The President, in consultation with Congress, is authorized to set the number of refugee admissions annually under the Refugee Act of 1980, recognizing that resettling people who have fled their country is both a humanitarian and a foreign policy concern.
The Trump administration has limited access to asylum by closing off the border to asylum-seekers—separating families; returning applicants to Mexico to await hearings; eliminating key eligibility criteria based on domestic violence, gang violence and family relationships; and, most recently, forcing people to apply for asylum in other countries before they can apply in the U.S. In 2017, the administration also ended the Central American Minors (CAM) program, shutting off a vital lifeline for children in danger to seek safety in the United States; now, it is working to make it nearly impossible to access the U.S. border through a so-called “Safe Third Country” agreement with Guatemala.