On Eliminating Refugee Admissions

Recent reports on the upcoming Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions reveals that for FY2020, the ceiling may be set at zero. Doing so would be devastating to those who need our compassion the most.

"I was a stranger and you welcomed me." (Matthew 25:35)

Each fiscal year, the administration sets a ceiling on the number of refugees that may be resettled through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP). Recent reports on the upcoming Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions reveals that for FY2020, the ceiling may be set at zero – an unprecedented policy reversal that would essentially end America’s reputation as the moral leader of the free world.

Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest has witnessed firsthand the shifting trends in U.S. refugee resettlement over the decades, serving as one of the few agencies in Arizona authorized by the federal government to welcome newly arrived refugees with vital community integration services for over. Amid the worst global refugee crisis in modern history, in which over 70 million people have been displaced, the United States has reduced its admissions by 74 percent in the past two years. Since its inception, the Presidential Determination has issued an average ceiling of 95,000 admissions per fiscal year – in FY2019, it was set at just 30,000, the lowest figure in American history. Restricting resettlement even further will have profound long-term consequences for refugees seeking protection, the communities that have historically welcomed them and America’s role as a global leader on humanitarian issues.

Text adapted from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS)

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