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HIAS Calls Trump Administration’s Proposed Refugee Ceiling Shameful

SILVER SPRING, Md.—Today, HIAS strongly condemned the Trump Administration’s announcement of a proposed refugee resettlement ceiling of 30,000 for Fiscal Year 2019, the lowest number ever set by any president since the Refugee Act became law in 1980.

“President Trump has once again betrayed America’s history and global leadership in providing safe haven for innocent human beings fleeing violence and persecution” said Mark Hetfield, President and CEO of HIAS, the global Jewish nonprofit that protects refugees. “By setting the refugee number this low, this administration is betraying the commitments we made after World War II – followed by decades of bipartisan support – to ensure that the world never again turns its back on innocent people seeking safety. During a period of unprecedented crisis, America has signaled it is a nation in retreat, and as a result the outlook for refugees looks even more bleak.”

The announcement, known as the Presidential Determination, sets the ceiling on the maximum number of refugees that can be resettled in the coming year. Since 1980, the average annual ceiling has been set at 96,229 refugees. Last year, the Presidential Determination was set at 45,000 but only a total of 20,918 have actually been admitted so far this year.  

While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the Administration’s intended final number, by law the Administration must consult with Congress before the number is official.

“Right now Jews are in the middle of the most reflective time of year and what this Administration has done to refugees and to our own country is shameful,” Hetfield said. “President Trump is depriving our country of thousands of new Americans who could have been productive members of our community, grateful to be living in safety and freedom. HIAS and our supporters in the American Jewish community will continue to help refugees and demonstrate that America remains a welcoming country.”

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