Two new Trump policies on refugees

“The Darkening City on the Hill The Trump Administration Heightens Its Assault on Refugee Protection” — from this article by Donald Kerwin, executive director of the Center for Migration Studies.

On September 26, 2019, the White House released two long-anticipated decrees. Its Executive Order on Enhancing State and Local Involvement in Refugee Resettlement requires that both states and localities consent to the resettlement of refugees in a particular locality. If either refuses to consent, the Order provides that “refugees should not be resettled within that State or locality,”

In addition, the Order seems to require states and localities to take an affirmative step – as part of a yet-determined process – to consent to refugee placement. In other words, they must “opt in” to the program. If they do not, then the federal government would deem the jurisdiction unacceptable for resettlement.

Also on September 26, the administration released the President’s annual Report to Congress on Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. This document announced the administration’s decision to limit refugee admissions to 18,000 in FY 2020, the lowest number in the 40-year history of the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).

In his July 30, 1981 statement on US immigration and refugee policy, President Ronald Reagan committed to continuing “America’s tradition as a land that welcomes peoples from other countries” and that shares “the responsibility of welcoming and resettling those who flee oppression.” He also acknowledged the importance of these policies to the nation’s interests. In his January 11, 1989 farewell address to the nation, Reagan spoke of the United States as a nation that had always stood as a beacon of freedom to the world’s refugees, but that this identity needed to be “rediscovered.” It needs to be rediscovered now as well, and before the Trump administration succeeds in fully dismantling one of the nation’s defining and proudest programs.

Leave a Reply