Rebuilding the refugee program

From an editorial in the Washington Post about reversing Trump’s destructive policy on refugees, and Biden’s goal of accepting 125,000 refugees in FY 2022 beginning in October:

In 2018, for the first time in decades, another country, Canada, resettled more refugees than the United States. In fiscal 2020, representing Mr. Trump’s final year in office, fewer than 12,000 refugees were admitted, down from nearly 85,000 in President Barack Obama’s final year.

Across the country, long-established agencies, faith-based and otherwise, spent most of the four years of the Trump administration laying off resettlement workers and closing local offices. To cite one such example: the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had more than 70 refugee resettlement offices when Mr. Trump took office. Today, it has 40, and many of those have trimmed their staffs given the unprecedented cuts by the Trump administration, which slowed refugee admissions to a trickle. Nationwide, about a third of roughly 300 offices that provided resettlement services for refugees were shuttered during Mr. Trump’s time in office; hundreds of Americans, dedicated to helping desperate people from nations reeling from war and disaster to rebuild their lives, were laid off. That expertise has been lost and will take time to regain.

No group of immigrants to this country is more thoroughly vetted than refugees, who are screened by the United Nations and then intensely vetted by U.S. officials, often for years, before they are eligible for admission and selected for resettlement. Once they arrive, an extensive network of nonprofit organizations and volunteers hustle to help them with jobs, housing, language training, medical services and schools.

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