STATEMENT: Drastic Refugee Resettlement Program Cuts for FY19 Are Shameful and Bad for U.S. National Security and Prosperity, Say CAP National Security and Immigration Experts

Washington, D.C. — In response to the Trump administration’s announcement that the fiscal year 2019 refugee admission cap will be 30,000, an all-time low, Kelly Magsamen, vice president for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

The announcement las night by the Trump administration that it will reduce the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States to 30,000—the lowest level in the history of the refugee program—is not just immoral and shameful but also bad for U.S. national security and prosperity.

American refugee programs have been an important tool of our foreign policy and have contributed to our global reputation and security. They have also allowed us to rally others to do more. Refugees go through intensive vetting, contribute every day to the American economy and enrich our society. Through this cynical move meant to stoke his base for short term gain, President Donald Trump has once again made sure that America will be seen as retreating not leading, with long-term consequences for US national security.

Tom Jawetz, vice president of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, added:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo implored us to judge this administration’s commitment to humanitarian protection not only by its decision to set the lowest refugee admissions target in history, but also by its treatment of asylum seekers and people permitted to live and work in this country with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This was a none too subtle reminder of the Trump administration’s methodical dismantling of our asylum system and its decision to end TPS for more than 300,000 people—even over the objections of seasoned State Department personnel, who warned that these decisions would endanger returnees and undermine U.S. security.

Only a few months ago, this administration took more than 2,600 children from their parents—many of whom were coerced into forfeiting their right to request asylum and tricked into returning to their country of origin without their child. Still today, hundreds of kids remain separated from their parents, some perhaps permanently orphaned. Secretary Pompeo framed his remarks yesterday as a request that the administration be judged on the totality of its record regarding the treatment of the most vulnerable people seeking protection. As ugly as the shamefully low refugee admissions target is, things only look worse when put into perspective.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Rafael Medina at rjmedina@americanprogress.org or 202.748.5313.