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HIAS Statement on Proposed FY20 Refugee Admissions of 18,000

Silver Spring, Md.–Today the Trump administration announced it intends to lower the refugee admissions ceiling for Fiscal Year 2020 to 18,000. Last year, the president set the number at 30,000, which was then the lowest number in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. 

In response, HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield said: “With the stroke of a pen, President Trump plans to once again abdicate American leadership, by playing to fear rather than showing strength. Refugee resettlement saves lives. The U.S. commitment to refugee resettlement has a global effect, setting an example for the world, in a moment when international leadership is sorely needed. Refugee resettlement assures that at least some of those forced to flee their homes have a safe and legal pathway to refuge in the United States. This administration has once again brought our country to a new low, by pledging to resettle fewer refugees than any other administration in history.”

Hetfield continued: “HIAS, the American Jewish community, and our local resettlement partners across the country have welcomed immigrants and refugees for well over a century, and we will continue to do so long after President Trump is out of office. We will help resettled refugees rebuild their lives, become contributing members of their communities, and walk along the pathway to citizenship. America is a courageous and generous country with a tradition of welcoming refugees. In spite of the administration's blows to HIAS and other faith-based partners welcoming refugees to the United States, we will survive and help refugees thrive.”

Historically, the annual refugee admissions ceiling has averaged 95,000 per year. This year, according to the U.N Refugee Agency (UNHCR), there are nearly 26 million refugees worldwide, the highest number ever recorded. According to UNHCR, more than 1.4 million refugees cannot remain safely where they are and are in need of resettlement.

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