Trump set to miss 2021 refugee quota deadline US and Canada


US President Donald Trump appears to be ignoring a deadline to determine the number of refugees who will be allowed to enter the United States next year, raising uncertainty over the future of the 40-year-old resettlement program that declined under his administration.The 1980 Refugee Act requires presidents to render their decision by October 1, the start of the fiscal year. As of just hours into Wednesday, the Trump administration had not scheduled necessary consultations with Congress before setting the annual figure.

There has been no immediate comment from the White House, which usually announces target numbers, or from the State or Homeland Security departments, which are involved in the determination.

Democratic lawmakers criticized the administration for failing to meet its obligations.

Trump’s violation of the 1980 law “will end our refugee admissions program, leaving thousands stranded abroad with their lives in danger,” said New York Representative Jerrold Nadler, President of the House Judiciary Committee, and California Representative Zoe Lofgren, who is chair of the Immigration and Citizenship subcommittee, said in a statement.

Trump froze this year’s admissions in March, citing the need to protect American jobs as the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic crushed the economy. Supporters fear the government will intentionally delay plans for fiscal year 2021 in order to eventually eliminate the refugee program.

Sunil Varghese, director of policy for the International Refugee Assistance Project, called on Trump to release the numbers on Tuesday during a press call, saying the US refugee admissions program was virtually at a standstill, and now we are waiting. and let us plead for the president to fulfill his legal obligation to consult Congress ”.

No refugee can be admitted after Thursday until the president sets the cap for the new year.

“We are concerned that the administration will delay the announcement indefinitely,” said Jacinta Ma of the National Immigration Forum, an advocacy group.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration was committed to the country’s history of ruling the world by providing a safe place for refugees.

“We continue to be the biggest contributor to the relief of the humanitarian crisis around the world, and we will continue to do so,” Pompeo told reporters in Rome on the sidelines of a religious freedom conference organized by the American embassy. “Certainly, as long as President Trump is in office, I can promise you that this administration is deeply committed to this.

Central American asylum seekers are seen inside an enclosure where they are held by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after crossing the border between Mexico and the United States. [Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters]

But advocates said the government’s actions do not show it. Since taking office, Trump has reduced the number of refugees allowed into the country by more than 80%, mirroring his broader efforts to dramatically reduce legal and illegal immigration.

The United States authorized just over 10,800 refugees – just over half of Trump’s 2020 cap of 18,000 – before the State Department suspended the program due to the coronavirus.

The cap of 18,000 was already the lowest in the history of the program. In addition, the State Department announced last week that it would no longer provide statistical information on the resettlement of refugees, raising further concerns.

Many resettlement offices have closed due to a decline in federal funding, which is linked to the number of refugees placed in the United States.


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