Trump administration announces record low cap on refugees allowed into the US
20 September 2018
On Monday, the Trump administration announced it will be setting the cap on the number of refugees allowed into United States in the fiscal year 2019 at 30,000. This marks a record low for the 43-year old refugee resettlement program, following the earlier historic low in 2018 of just 45,000 refugees, already less than half of the cap of 115,000 in 2017. As of now, with less than two weeks to go before the end of the fiscal year, the United States is on track to admit less than 21,000 refugees.
The US is drastically reducing its refugee intake at a time when the United Nations has reported an all-time high of more than 68 million displaced people, including 25 million refugees. A majority of refugees come from Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan. As of this year, it is reported that nearly 5 million Syrians live as refugees in neighboring countries, such as Lebanon and Turkey. In 2018, the United States accepted just 60 Syrian refugees, and is on track to admit 744 Afghans and 12 South Sudanese.
Announcing the new limit on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the administration’s position, citing “America’s generosity” in providing “billions of dollars in aid” and claiming that most refugees in any case prefer to stay closer to their home countries rather than “come to America.” Pompeo also cynically declared that it was more important to end conflicts than accept new refugees.
Given the role of American imperialism in destabilizing the Middle East and stoking the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan, such statements can only be treated with absolute contempt. The callousness of reducing refugee resettlement caps at a time…