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Statement on Proposed FY2021 Refugee Admissions of 15,000

SILVER SPRING, Md. — Last night the Trump administration announced it intends to lower the refugee admissions ceiling for FY2021 to 15,000. Last year, the president set the number at 18,000, 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: “It is a sad moment when our country shows such weakness when it should be leading. The administration’s decision to set a record low number of refugees at a time of record high needs — and without even consulting with Congress, as required by law — shows how far we have fallen. Not only will refugees who have fled violence and persecution suffer, but so will our country, as refugees who become new Americans have contributed so much to this country.

Hetfield continued: “The administration may have turned its back on refugees, but we at HIAS won’t. HIAS, the American Jewish community, and our local resettlement partners across the country have welcomed immigrants and refugees for well over a century. HIAS and our community of supporters and partners remain more committed than ever to welcoming the stranger.”

Historically, the annual refugee admissions ceiling, officially known as the Presidential Determination, or PD, has averaged 95,000 per year. This year, according to the U.N Refugee Agency, there are 26 million refugees worldwide, with more than 1.4 million individuals in need of immediate resettlement.

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