Trump administration plans to drastically cut refugee cap

The number of refugees entering the U.S. has dropped drastically since the executive order signed by President Trump in January; that number seems likely to decline with a planned cap of 45,000 in fiscal year 2018.

Refugee regulation numbers in the U.S. have fluctuated since its beginning in 1980, but this is the lowest cap any administration has sought since then. Refugee resettlement agencies held out hope for a limit of 75,000 but instead were disappointed with a cap they say falls far short of what is necessary to meet humanitarian needs around the world.

The great debate circulating the issue at hand seems to come down to humanitarian goals versus national security concerns.

Trump’s administration argues the U.S spends a large amount to screen and resettle refugees upon arrival. Some states agree with the cost of resettling refugees being too high; earlier in 2017 for example, Tennessee took the federal government to court over refugee resettlement.

Economists studying the issue have maintained the expense of resettling refugees costs approximately $180,000 per person.

Last week during his address to the United Nations, Trump claimed “for the cost of resettling one refugee in the U.S. we can assist more than 10 in their home region.” 

On the opposing side of the debate, some feel continuing in President Obama’s footsteps and letting the cap on refugee regulation rise could have a positive effect on the U.S.; The mayor of Syracuse, N.Y., Stephanie Miner, is one of those people.

“These people are paying taxes. They’re buying houses. They’re going into our schools. They create their own businesses  which add economic energy that, but for them, would not be here,” she argues.

“There is an investment that you have to make to help them get acculturated to help them learn the language and learn the culture, but once they do they are really committed to this country.” 

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found refugees brought in $63 billion more in revenue than they cost between 2005 and 2014. The White House failed to release these reports.

While the regulation of refugees continues to be a battle of morality versus budgetary and security concerns, this particular fix will continue to await finalization until the administration consults with members of the Senate and House judiciary committees to explain it’s reasoning.


[NPR] [Politically Short] [Politico] [Photo courtesy AP/Raad Adayleh via New York Times]