Bipartisan Group Urges Trump Administration to Take in More Refugees Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted: Sep 24, 2020 6:00 PM
Bipartisan Group Urges Trump Administration to Take in More Refugees Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Source: AP Photo

A group of former lawmakers and bureaucrats are imploring President Trump to ignore his voters and increase refugee resettlement in the upcoming fiscal year. Millions of Americans are still out of work, but devotees of unfettered immigration are anxious to complete the demographic transformation happening throughout the country.

ABC News reports that some former U.S. officials from both sides of the political aisle are joining with resettlement agencies, religious leaders, and some current lawmakers to pressure the Trump administration to increase refugee admissions in the upcoming fiscal year. The advocates worry that President Trump will zero out refugee admissions completely or once again lower the ceiling set on admissions.

(Via ABC News

Seven former U.S. officials who ran the refugee admissions program under both Republican and Democrat administrations urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to express alarm at such a suspension and call for a "substantial increase" in admissions.

"We believe that any further reduction in refugee resettlement would represent the disregard of dire needs of displaced people around the world at a time when other governments are bearing substantial responsibilities to provide refuge," while a "suspension would walk away from a proud U.S. tradition of welcoming those individuals to our country who are seeking better lives for themselves and their children," wrote Republicans James Purcell and Arthur Dewy and Democrats Frank Loy, Phyllis Oakley, Samuel Witten, Eric Schwartz, and Anne Richard.

According to the State Department, the U.S. has taken in more than three million refugees already and granted asylum status to more than 721,000 individuals since Jimmy Carter signed the Refugee Act of 1980 into law.

President Trump has consistently lowered the ceiling on the number of refugees resettled to the U.S., from 45,000 in fiscal year 2018, to 30,000 in fiscal year 2019, to 18,000 in fiscal year 2020. 

Still, the U.S. is resettling more refugees than any other nation in the world. According to the Center for Immigration Studies, the vast majority of those resettled were not the most vulnerable or in urgent need of relocation. Even in the early months of the pandemic, the United States was taking in thousands of refugees. 

The president also signed an executive order in September 2019 giving state and local officials control over the refugee resettlement underway in their communities.

"State and local governments are best positioned to know the resources and capacities they may or may not have available to devote to sustainable resettlement, which maximizes the likelihood refugees placed in the area will become self-sufficient and free from long-term dependence on public assistance," Trump's executive order reads. 

Only Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced that his state would opt-out of the federal program. Many Republican governors betrayed their voters by asking for more resettlement within their states, including Idaho Gov. Brad Little.

How long before the next Ilhan Omar makes her way to Congress?