Contact your Representatives!
The U.S. State Department has announced that for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY2018), the Trump administration will enforce a historic low cap of 45,000 refugees for resettlement in the United States. This is a drastic cut from the ceiling of 110,000 supported by the Obama administration.
Trump has fear mongered about the alleged security threat and taxpayer burden of refugees. This is unfounded. Refugees undergo vigorous background checks that take between 18-24 months and refugees contributed a net $63 billion in government revenues over the past decade.
Trump’s cut is not only 22,000 less than the previous low set by Pres. Ronald Reagan in 1986, but it comes during the worst refugee crisis since WWII. According to the UN Refugee Agency, 65.6 million people are currently forcibly displaced from their homes.
The historically low cap, along with the Muslim Ban and the repeal of DACA, represent hostility towards immigration throughout the administration. ADC, for instance, is suing the State Department for their inexplicable refusal to process the Diversity Visas of approved Yemeni applications.
To make matters worse, the U.S. will probably end up admitting even less refugees than Trump’s cap. Consider that for FY2016 and FY2017, the cap was 110,000 but the number of refugees admitted was 84,994 and 53,500, respectively. A cap is not a mandate and even an administration supportive of refugees can be expected to admit far fewer than the cap given the time-consuming process. With Trump, we can expect nothing but bad faith and arbitrary rejection of refugees.
When Trump entered office he attempted to rescind the 110,000 cap for 50,000 as part of his Muslim Ban. When federal judges struck down Trump’s Ban, they also stuck down the 50,000 cap. But it is likely no coincidence that the admittance number of 53,500 for FY2017 was closer to Trump’s proposal than the nominal 110,000 or even the previous year’s 84,994. Trump undershot the FY2017 target by nearly 50%; imagine how few will be admitted with an already low cap. Moreover, the 45,000 cap is a standalone measure not easily subject to court challenge.
For refugees in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen facing war and humanitarian catastrophe, the odds are even worse: the allocated target for the Near East/South Asia is 17,500 and for Africa 19,000.
It is imperative that our representatives stand up for the best traditions of America at a time of great peril around the world. Congress only has a few days to respond before FY2018 starts on Oct 1. 2017. Contact them now!