A senior administration official who spoke anonymously to Reuters says Trump is weighing whether to keep refugee resettlement mostly suspended due to the Chinese coronavirus or to restart the program with a lowered annual cap.
U.S. officials are weighing whether to postpone or further cut refugee admissions in the coming year amid legal fights over President Donald Trump’s refugee policy and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior official said.
The possible postponement – one of several options under discussion – would mean some or all refugee admissions could be frozen until a legal challenge to a 2019 Trump order on refugees is resolved “with some greater degree of finality,” the official told Reuters.
“The arc of this administration’s refugee policy is going to continue,” said the official, who requested anonymity to discuss the ongoing deliberations.
The option to continue the program’s suspension would rely on a case currently making its way through federal courts. Last year, Trump signed an executive order allowing states and localities to decide whether they wanted to admit refugees into their communities. In January, a Clinton-appointed federal
judge halted the order, awaiting an outcome in the case.
In March, the Trump administration
suspended the refugee resettlement program to help slow the spread of the Chinese coronavirus. Since April, less than 2,400 refugees — classified as emergency humanitarian cases — have been admitted to the United States.
The Trump administration, for four years, has reduced the annual inflow of refugees. For Fiscal Year 2020, for instance, Trump lowered the annual cap to 18,000 refugees. This is the lowest level of refugee resettlement since the program’s inception in 1980, accounting for an
80 percent reduction compared to the Obama-Biden years.
The cap is merely a numerical limit and not a goal federal officials are supposed to reach.
In contrast, Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden has promised to surge refugee resettlement — even in the midst of the Chinese coronavirus crisis — back to Obama-era levels. Under Biden’s plan, annual refugee admissions
would skyrocket by nearly 600 percent during his first year in office.
Since September 11, 2001 — the day
19 foreign terrorists who secured U.S. visas murdered nearly 3,000 Americans — more than 985,000 refugees have been admitted to the country. This is a number more than double that of residents living in Miami, Florida, and would be the equivalent of adding the population of Pensacola, Florida, to the country every year.
costs American taxpayers nearly $9 billion every five years, according to the latest research. Over the course of five years, an estimated 16 percent of all refugees admitted will need housing assistance paid for by taxpayers.
. John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder