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Report: Trump Administration to Eliminate Refugee Admissions to Zero in Coming Year

Since the so-called “refugee ceiling” is an upper limit, and not a quota, the government is not required to meet the annual admissions number

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Migrant children sleep on the floor of a shelter in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, July 17, 2019. Asylum-seekers grappled to understand a new U.S. policy that all but eliminates refugee claims by Central Americans and many others. VOA

The Trump administration is considering more dramatic cuts to the U.S. refugee program, with one official suggesting the White House not allow any refugees into the country in the coming fiscal year.

In a Politico report released Thursday, government officials from several federal agencies attended a meeting last week and discussed several options that included a ceiling of 10,000 — well below the current refugee ceiling of 30,000, which is already an all-time low for the program.

The U.S. resettled 23,190 refugees since the beginning of fiscal 2019 last October. With 2½ months remaining until the count resets, the U.S. is on track to fall short of this year’s cap, according to U.S. State Department data.

Since the so-called “refugee ceiling” is an upper limit, and not a quota, the government is not required to meet the annual admissions number.

refugees
Trump repeatedly attempted a ban on refugees with multiple executive orders on travel during his first year in office, citing “national security” concerns. VOA

Multiple figures

Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief, one of the primary refugee resettlement nongovernmental organizations in the U.S., said he has heard multiple figures proposed for the coming fiscal year, all well below the program’s historical annual threshold of around 60,000 to 70,000.

In President Barack Obama’s last year two years in office, his administration made a concerted effort to increase the number of admitted refugees, with a particular focus on Syrians fleeing conflict and persecution.

And since the U.S. president is the one who ultimately makes the final decision when it comes to the number of refugee admissions, President Donald Trump has leeway to further reduce the total allowed.

“The president hasn’t made an actual decision, that won’t happen till October. But I suspect they’re testing the waters a bit to see if, in fact, the public will respond to this, and if there will be any public outrage,” Arbeiter told VOA. “So it is a proposed number, it is not a final number, but a number anywhere between zero, and we’ve heard 3,000, 7,000 10,000, but anywhere in that range, what it effectively does is it closes the door on refugees, and effectively constitutes a total ban on refugees.”

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The journey has become more dangerous because of greater reliance by refugees and migrants on smugglers to transport them to the U.S. border. VOA

Earlier ban attempts

Trump repeatedly attempted a ban on refugees with multiple executive orders on travel during his first year in office, citing “national security” concerns. Those worries, however, were not substantiated by data and no scientific study demonstrates a correlation between refugee admissions and elevated crime or security risks.

Each year, the president makes an annual determination, after appropriate consultation with Congress, regarding the refugee admissions ceiling for the following fiscal year. That determination is expected to be made before the start of fiscal 2020 on Oct. 1, 2019.

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The U.S. State Department is one of the leading agencies involved in the deliberation process with the White House over refugee admissions. In an emailed statement Friday, a spokesperson reiterated the president makes the decision on the ceiling every year “after appropriate consultation with Congress.”

Beyond that, however, the spokesperson said the State Department would “not discuss internal and interagency deliberations or communications involved in such deliberations.” Last year, however, the White House was criticized by members of Congress after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the fiscal 2019 cap would be 30,000, before the legally required meetings with Capitol Hill lawmakers happened. (VOA)

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Trump Sends Undocumented Migrants to Sanctuary Cities

Democrats must change the Immigration Laws FAST. If not, Sanctuary Cities must immediately ACT to take care of the Illegal Immigrants

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Trump Sends Mixed Signals on Migrant Crisis at US-Mexico Border. VOA

The White House on Sunday, echoing President Donald Trump, said sending undocumented migrants to sanctuary U.S. cities that have protected them from deportation remains a possibility even though government agencies have said it would be impractical and there is no money allocated to do it.

“We certainly are looking at all options as long as [opposition] Democrats refuse to acknowledge the crisis at the border,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the “Fox News Sunday” show.

Trump said late Saturday on Twitter, “Democrats must change the Immigration Laws FAST. If not, Sanctuary Cities must immediately ACT to take care of the Illegal Immigrants – and this includes Gang Members, Drug Dealers, Human Traffickers, and Criminals of all shapes, sizes and kinds. CHANGE THE LAWS NOW!”

Hundreds of U.S. cities, along with California, the country’s most populous state, have declared themselves as havens for migrants who have illegally crossed the southern U.S. border with Mexico, refusing the help U.S. immigration officials to track down the immigrants so they can be deported.

U.S. border authorities apprehended more than 100,000 undocumented migrants, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, at the border in March, nearly twice that in the same month in 2018.

 

“The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities,” Trump said. “We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the State of California, which is well known (for) its poor management & high taxes!”

The U.S. now houses thousands of migrants at the border, but is running out of beds and instead is releasing new arrivals into the U.S. on their promise to appear at asylum hearings that might not occur for two years.

The Department of Homeland Security has said that Congress has not appropriated any money to transport the migrants from the border to far-flung sanctuary cities across the U.S., while the Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency has called it an “unnecessary operational burden.”

Sanders said, “Nobody thinks this is the ideal solution,” sending migrants to sanctuary cities. But she said mayors of cities “who want this… should be looking to help” Trump resolve the crisis at the border. She accused Congress of wanting to spend “all of its time investigating the president” rather than dealing with the immigration turmoil at the border.

Trump tweeted, “So interesting to see the Mayor of Oakland and other Sanctuary Cities NOT WANT our currently ‘detained immigrants’ after release due to the ridiculous court ordered 20 day rule. If they don’t want to serve our Nation by taking care of them, why should other cities & towns?”

 

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., arrives at the Capitol on the morning after House and Senate negotiators worked out a border security compromise hoping to avoid another government shutdown, in Washington, Feb. 12, 2019. VOA

Trump was referring to a court ruling prohibiting the U.S. from detaining migrant minors, those under 18 years old, for more than 20 days, before being required to release them to relatives in the U.S. or other care givers.

A key Republican lawmaker, Sen. Lindsey Graham, told another Fox News show, “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo,” that after the current two-week congressional recess ends, he would introduce legislation that would authorize the detention of children beyond 20 days, “toughen up our asylum standards,” and allow migrant children to be returned to Central American countries, which is not now allowed once they have entered the United States.

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“We’re never going to change this with troops and walls at the border,” Graham said of the U.S. immigration crisis. “Doing what we’re doing is not working.”

He added, “If you get one foot into the United States,” migrants can seek asylum. “The word is out that if you come with a minor, you’re never going to get deported. We need to change that narrative. We need troops at the border. We need a law. But these [U.S.] laws are insane.” (VOA)