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Statement on FY20 Refugee Admissions

SILVER SPRING, Md.— On November 1, President Trump made official the refugee resettlement ceiling of 18,000 for Fiscal Year 2020. This is the lowest number ever set by any president since the Refugee Act became law in 1980.

In response to the announcement, Melanie Nezer, HIAS’ Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, said: “The administration is abdicating our responsibility to refugees and to the smaller and poorer countries that are struggling to host the world’s displaced people. It’s wrong to tell people who are fleeing violence that there is no safe place for them here–when resettlement has saved countless lives and so enriched our country–and to leave them to needlessly suffer instead.”

Nezer added: “We know that refugees help build better communities. At a time when there are over 70 million people displaced in the world, it’s heartless and senseless to yet again lower the number of people that America, a nation built by immigrants and refugees, is willing to resettle.”

The administration proposed the refugee admissions number, known as the Presidential Determination, in late September. HIAS and other refugee assistance organizations, faith leaders, policy experts, and hundreds of elected officials repeatedly called on the administration to change the number. This year’s cap represents a 40% cut from last year’s number – nearly 80% lower than fiscal 2016– and it comes amidst the largest global refugee crisis in recorded history.