The United States will now accept fewer refugees over the next fiscal year than ever before. The Trump Administration has decided once again to slash the annual cap on refugees down from 30,000 to 18,000, the lowest it has been since the program began in 1980. A number of the openings for FY2020 have already been allocated:  up to 5,000 refugees fleeing religious persecution, 4,000 Iraqis who assisted the US government or who have other American connections, and 1,500 from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. That leaves space for 7,500 other refugees, according to a senior administration official. The administration cited a need to divert resources to handle the backlog of nearly one million asylum cases.

The decision to slash the number of refugees comes amid Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan’s separate deals with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador that would require most migrants to apply for asylum in that country in an effort to keep the migrants from journeying to the United States.

The number of refugees worldwide has approximately doubled between the years 2012 and 2018 to more than 20 million, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. States that have resettled the most refugees this year are Texas, New York, Washington and California, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. “The shockingly low refugee admissions goal and the executive order will all but ensure that people in need of safety will be left in dangerous conditions and separated from their families. . .[t]hese policies will prevent refugees from being resettled, even though communities across the nation stand ready to welcome them,” said Betsy Fisher, the director of strategy for the International Refugee Assistance Project.

 

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