• Alexander McShiras

President Trump’s Administration Plans to Decrease the Number of Refugees Allowed in the Country

President Trump’s administration plans to lower the number of refugees admitted to the United States each fiscal year. The number of refugees allowed to enter the country has already hit a record low. For the fiscal year 2020, only 18,000 refugees were allowed to enter the country. The new fiscal year started October 1st with no more than 15,000 refugees allowed. Former President Barack Obama allowed 110,000 refugees in 2016. The dramatic drop comes as no surprise knowing that President Trump continues to target immigration and with a month to his re-election.

With the drastic drop in admitting refugees, President Trump suggested not admitting refugees from Syria, Somalia, and Yemen unless they have fear of being prosecuted by their religion. The suggestion comes with many security concerns for refugees from each of these countries, whose reasons for fleeing are much broader than just their religion. The Trump administration is again advocating for “extreme vetting” as he did in the travel ban. This is something that already exists as all refugees are not allowed to enter the United States without extensive background checks.

President Trump’s campaign warns voters that refugees will cost the government more money and it will take jobs away from the American people. This is a fear tactic that Trump is using to divide the American people by using immigrants and refugees as a scapegoat. This tactic is a political strategy to energize his base before November’s elections. At a recent rally in Minnesota, President Trump made misleading comments regarding the impact Joe Biden would have on refugee admissions. President Trump claimed that if Biden is elected, the U.S. will see an increase of 700% in refugees arriving from the most dangerous places such as Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. However, it is Trump’s dramatic cuts in refugee admissions over the past four years that make such a dramatic increase possible. In Minnesota, about 57,000 people of Somali descent live in Minneapolis, which is one of the countries’ largest Somali populations.



Even though the cap for the 2020 fiscal year was 18,000, there were only 11,000 refugees welcomed into the United States, leaving many refugees stranded. The administration tried to justify the decrease in refugee acceptance to the number of asylum claims they are anticipating to receive this year, but there is a difference between how asylum seekers and refugees apply for protection. Asylum seekers apply once they arrive in the country and their cases go to an immigration court. President Trump’s administration has stopped asylum seekers at the border with Mexico and eliminating the possibility to apply for protection. Refugees apply for the program overseas and go through an extensive background check before they are allowed in the country. Right now, the refugee resettlement program is temporarily suspended due to the pandemic, leaving many refugees separated from their families and in danger.

President Trump’s administration ended a system that reserved slots for people from many countries in East Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the Caribbean. The new slots are now reserved for Iraqis who have worked for the U.S. Military, people victimized by their religion, people from Central America, and those seeking family reunification. There were 4,000 slots open for Iraqis who worked for the US military, but only 123 were allowed in the United States. The Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, stated that there is no more generous country in the world than the United States when it comes to reducing the human crises that are happening around the world. While that is the case historically, the United States is about to become one of the few countries in the world to charge asylum applicants a filing fee to apply for asylum. The Trump administration continues to advance policies that harm the most vulnerable people who come to America seeking protection: asylum seekers, immigrants, and refugees.

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