Rabat – US President Donald Trump has signed a Presidential Determination to limit the maximum number of refugees that the United States will welcome in 2020 to only 18,000 people. The number is the lowest in the history of the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) since its creation in 1980.
Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, announced the president’s decision in a press release, published on November 2.
At the core of the Trump Administration’s foreign policy is a commitment to make decisions based on reality, not wishes, and to drive outcomes based on facts. The Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2020 does that. https://t.co/vFNm1kKPze
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 2, 2019
The decision is based on “realities” instead of “wishes,” according to Pompeo.
USRAP is a consortium of federal agencies and nonprofit organizations working together to identify and admit qualified refugees for resettlement into the US. Every year, thousands of refugees enter the US to build a better life.
The number of yearly admissions has ranged from a high of 207,000 in 1980 to 27,110 in 2002. The new admissions limit is lower by almost 10,000 than the 2002 number. The average number of yearly admissions since 1980 is 98,000.
The new limit was met with a range reactions after its first announcement in September, especially among Democrat governors who expressed their willingness to keep welcoming refugees in their states despite the reduced number.
Resettlement is a lifeline our country provides to the world’s most vulnerable refugees. The Trump admin will soon require states to opt IN to welcoming refugees, their latest attack against immigrant & refugee communities. These are not the values on which our country was built. pic.twitter.com/ImoJoIiJiH
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) October 21, 2019
Oregon’s governor, Kate Brown, announced on October 21 in a video that Oregon is a “sanctuary state” where “refugees are welcome.” “I, as your governor, stand with refugees,” she added.
According to the New York Times, USRAP will admit only 5,000 refugees who have been persecuted in their home countries because of their religious beliefs. The program will also limit the number of refugees from Central America to 2000, while the number of admissions for Iraqis who helped the US Army during the Iraq war is set at 4,000.
Under former US President Barack Obama’s administration, more than 9,800 Iraqis received asylum in the US on a yearly basis. The number approved by Trump for 2020 is less than half of the previous numbers.