US refugee cap to be reduced to 30,000 in 2019, lowest level in 40 years
Yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, announced that the Trump administration was admitting no more than 30,000 refugees in the fiscal year of 2019. The 2019 US fiscal year begins on October 1st.
Last year, the Trump administration implemented a refugee “ceiling” of 45,000 refugees. Before Pompeo made the announcement reducing it, the administration failed to meet and discuss with Congress the new proposed refugee cap. The Department of State sent a press release saying Pompeo would give “remarks to the media,” but no other details were given. According to the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, this will be the lowest refugee ceiling in 40 years.
Pompeo elaborates the announcement, “This year’s refugee ceiling reflects the substantial increase in the number of individuals seeking asylum in our country, contributing to a massive backlog of outstanding asylum cases and greater public expense.”
Pompeo reinforces the “America First” Trump campaign promise, saying, “In consideration of both U.S. national security interest and the urgent need to restore integrity to our overwhelmed asylum system, the United States will focus on addressing the humanitarian protection cases of those already in the country.”
New data on migration and refugee resettlement to the U.S. demonstrates that the administration is systematically reducing migration from predominantly non-white countries while increasing European refugee migration. According to the US Department of State, during the 2016-2018 years, the Trump administration reduced refugee migration from South America by 39%, from Africa 72%, and from South Asia 90%. However, there was only a 20% reduction in European refugee migration, and most of these are religious, not necessarily ethnic, minorities.
“It’s good for religious minorities,” Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) president Mark Hetfield told Vox about these new efforts, “but it’s not relevant to the 65 million displaced people globally.”