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HIAS Calls Trump Administration’s Refugee Ceiling Shameful

SILVER SPRING, Md.—Today, the Trump administration recommended a refugee resettlement ceiling for Fiscal Year 2018 of 45,000, the lowest number ever set by any president since the Refugee Act became law in 1980.

“President Trump has 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.”

President Trump’s 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 110,000, before the Trump administration attempted to cap it at 50,000 through two executive orders which have been challenged in, and largely blocked by, federal courts.  

"This 2018 Presidential Determination for refugee admissions, which sets a record as the lowest one in history, comes on the heels of reports that the White House suppressed a study demonstrating that refugees contribute to the U.S. government tens of billions more dollars than they cost," added Hetfield.

“Congress must act urgently to pass legislation that demonstrates the strong support for refugee resettlement in the United States and rejects this shameful approach. HIAS and our supporters in the American Jewish community will continue to help refugees and ensure that America remains a welcoming country.”

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