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HIAS Statement on U.S. Refugee Admissions

Yesterday, news broke that the Trump administration is considering lowering the Fiscal Year 2020 refugee admissions ceiling to as low as zero. In FY 2019, the president set the number at 30,000, already the lowest number in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, which began in 1980. Historically, annual admissions numbers have been in the range of 75,000-95,000 per year. This year, according to the U.N Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are more refugees in the world than at any time in recorded history.

In response, Melanie Nezer, HIAS’ Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, said, “Should the administration decide that the U.S. will no longer resettle refugees, it will be a full abdication of our role as the world’s humanitarian leader in refugee protection – a role the U.S. has held since World War II. A decision like this would undo 70 years of progress in establishing a global system for ensuring that never again will the world turn its back on people fleeing persecution.”

“HIAS and our thousands of supporters in the Jewish community across the country will continue to take action to let our elected officials know that we expect the United States to continue to welcome refugees. Many of us owe our lives to the welcome and opportunity America provided to our relatives when they found safety and peace here.”

This week began with an announcement of renewed efforts to block people from seeking asylum in the U.S. and is ending with reports of ending refugee resettlement. The future of refugee resettlement in this country depends on Americans standing in solidarity and doing all we can to make sure we continue to be a country that respects the post-World War II legal norms that protect refugees and continues to reap the incalculable rewards of welcoming refugees and immigrants.

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