(Arlington, VA) – The State Department has announced that the United States intends to offer protection to no more than 18,000 refugees in 2020. The cap on refugees was set at 110,000 as recently as 2017, and the 2020 target reportedly represents the lowest annual cap since the resettlement program began in 1980. According to press reports, the U.S. will offer resettlement to as many 5,000 fleeing religious persecution, 4,000 Iraqis who assisted the U.S. government, and 1,500 from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
Daniel Garza, President of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
“The United States has always been a beacon of hope, setting an example for the world in offering refuge to those who have been forced to flee from their homes escaping persecution, war, or violence. We should remain committed to upholding this practice. With that in mind, it is disappointing that we continue to see yet another dramatic reduction in the nation’s commitment to welcoming those who yearn to breathe free.
For many years, the U.S. has benefited from the immeasurable contributions of refugees. Yet, the continued cuts of refugee admissions, and the newly announced changes to the refugee resettlement process, ignore the importance and positive impacts of upholding our longstanding commitment to welcome refugees.
At a time when legal immigration channels are already unnecessarily being restricted, we must acknowledge that with such policy decisions come many negative consequences. We should not turn our back on those seeking an escape from oppression, nor should we continue to close ourselves off to the world. It’s critical that we increase refugee admissions, and that Congress and the President come together to expand legal avenues for people to immigrate to the U.S.”