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Home / Press Release / Trump Administration Sets All-Time Low Refugee Cap
September 17, 2018

Trump Administration Sets All-Time Low Refugee Cap

Washington, D.C.—In response to the Trump Administration’s announcement today capping the refugee admissions goal for fiscal year 2019 at an all-time low of 30,000, Human Rights First’s Jennifer Quigley issued the following statement:

"Today's announcement of the abysmally-low refugee cap set by the Trump Administration is a shameful abdication of our humanity in the face of the worst refugee crisis in history. Our nation was founded on the backs of refugees, and our country has been enriched by these brave individuals who come here to rebuild their lives in safety. By setting the lowest refugee cap in history, we have turned our backs not only on those in dire circumstances abroad, but on our own American ideals."

Human Rights First notes that today's announcement of the refugee admissions number came before the legally-mandated consultation with Congress for a program that spans foreign policy, the immigration system, and relies about local communities to fulfill a public-private partnership with congressionally-allocated resources. 

The administration is justifying the decrease in refugee resettlement by arguing that the United States has a backlog of asylum cases. While Human Rights First documents the negative impact the backlog has on asylum seekers, the organization notes that even if one combined the number of asylum seekers held up in the backlog and the number of refugees proposed today by the administration, the United States’ overall refugee acceptance per capita would pale in comparison to those being hosted in front line states. Turkey hosts 35 refugees per 1,000 individuals, Jordan hosts 89 refugees per 1,000, and Lebanon hosts 173 per 1,000. If the United States were to admit only 30,000 refugees, the rate in the United States would only be less than 1 per 1,000, even when including the asylum office backlog, a dismally small number given the worldwide need.         

For more information or to speak with Quigley contact Corinne Duffy at DuffyC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319.