Refugees capped at all-time low

Syrian refugees in Beirut

Syrian refugees preparing to leave Lebanon, to return to their homes in Syria.
PHOTO CREDIT: Anwar Amro/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images via NY Times


This week, the Trump administration announced its plans to cap refugee resettlement in the US at 30,000 people next year. Since the refugee program was created in 1980, this is the lowest number a president has put in place. Currently, our cap sits at 45,000 refugees so this would be a reduction by one-third.


To put this bold move in perspective, we can compare refugee caps for other recent presidents. During the time of President George W. Bush (after 9/11), our refugee cap was raised to 80,000. In the years of President Barack Obama, the refugee cap was raised to 110,000. However, when Trump took office his senior adviser, Stephen Miller, proposed cutting this back to 15,000 refugees. There was much push back so they settled on the current cap of 45,000.


“Not only do they reduce the number to record-low levels, they have no intention of even meeting that number during the fiscal year. It further weakens our moral authority and leadership in the world.” ~ J. Kevin Appleby, the senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies via NY Times


Even with our current cap of 45,000, the Trump administration has slowed down the process for refugee resettlement and has only admitted 20,918 this year. With the exponential increase in refugees, one of the largest humanitarian crises of our time, it is appalling that the United States has only admitted half of our meager cap when we have the capacity to accommodate much more than we currently do.


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