Trump ad­min de­fends new refugee cap of 45,000 in com­ing year

Ripon Bulletin - - Nation -

WASH­ING­TON (AP) — The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion de­fended its de­ci­sion Wed­nes­day to sharply cur­tail the num­ber of refugees al­lowed into the United States to 45,000 next year, even as global hu­man­i­tar­ian groups de­cried the move and called the num­ber far too low.

The 45,000 cap, to be for­mally an­nounced by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in the com­ing days, re­flects the max­i­mum the U.S. will ad­mit dur­ing the fis­cal year that starts Sun­day, although the ac­tual num­ber al­lowed could be far lower. Even if the cap is ul­ti­mately hit, it would re­flect the low­est ad­mis­sions level for the U.S. in more than a decade.

Low­er­ing the cap re­flects Trump’s op­po­si­tion to ac­cept­ing refugees and other im­mi­grants into the U.S., an ap­proach that has al­ready driven down refugee ad­mis­sions. For­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama had wanted to take in 110,000 in 2017, but the pace slowed dra­mat­i­cally after Trump took of­fice and is­sued an ex­ec­u­tive or­der ad­dress­ing refugees. The to­tal ad­mit­ted in the fis­cal year that ends Sun­day is ex­pected to be around 54,000, of­fi­cials said. In 2016, the last full year of Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, the U.S. wel­comed 84,995 refugees.

Though a broad ar­ray of cri­te­ria de­ter­mines who re­ceives refugee sta­tus, the al­lot­ments are bro­ken down into spe­cific num­bers of refugees ad­mit­ted from var­i­ous geo­graphic re­gions. The State Depart­ment con­veyed those num­bers to Con­gress on Wed­nes­day, of­fi­cials said.

Africa will re­ceive the largest al­lot­ment of 19,000 refugees, or 42 per­cent of the to­tal. The next-high­est num­ber goes to the Mid­dle East and South Asia, which will be granted 17,500 slots, or 39 per­cent. The re­main­ing al­lot­ments in­clude 5,000 for East Asia, 2,000 for Europe and 1,500 for Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean.

Although the to­tals are far lower than in the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, the per­cent­age granted to each re­gion was left al­most un­changed from the last year of Obama’s term. One key dif­fer­ence: there will no longer be an “un­al­lo­cated” al­lot­ment of 14,000 refugees that could come from any re­gion.

Trump’s de­ci­sion has drawn con­ster­na­tion from aid groups who have pointed to refugee crises that have wors­ened, not im­proved, in­clud­ing in Syria, Myan­mar and South Su­dan. Sev­eral groups have urged Trump to re­con­sider and adopt a fig­ure closer to Obama’s goal of 110,000.

“With his­tor­i­cally high num­bers of in­no­cent peo­ple flee­ing vi­o­lence world­wide, the United States re­sponse can­not be to wel­come a his­tor­i­cally low num­ber of refugees into our coun­try,” said Bill O’Keefe of Catholic Re­lief Ser­vices.

But Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials said the new cap will ad­vance na­tional se­cu­rity in­ter­ests and re­flect the United States’ ca­pac­ity to prop­erly screen and take in refugees. They said new screen­ing and ad­mit­tance re­quire­ments for refugees will be an­nounced later, as a 6-month re­view, or­dered by Trump near the start of his pres­i­dency, draws to a close.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.