A Trump administration proposal would lower the refugee entry ceiling to 15,000.
BOISE, Idaho – On Wednesday, the Trump administration released its proposal on how many refugees will be admitted to the country for fiscal year 2021, which begins October 1.
“The administration sent a report to Congress with the admissions cap for next year set at 15,000,” said Georgette Siqueiros, community engagement coordinator for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Boise.
In part, the IRC works to resettle refugee families for a variety of different reasons.
“This is a very low limit, historically. The historical average was 95,000, ”Siqueiros said.
The 15,000-person limit is the lowest number since the refugee admission program began in the United States. The Trump administration set the previous low in 2019 with a cap of 18,000, down from 30,000 in 2018 and 45,000 in 2017.
Decreasing limits have made resettlement of refugees increasingly difficult, according to IRC Boise Executive Director Julianne Donnelly-Tzul
“Look at these numbers, most of the people who are coming are children,” Donnelly-Tzul said. “So we are talking about the most vulnerable of the most vulnerable and now only a few are going to safety.”
Last year, when the limit was set at 18,000, 168 refugees came to Idaho compared to 1,100 in previous years.
The Trump administration said the cap reflects an ongoing commitment to prioritize the safety and well-being of Americans, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the IRC said the need around the world continues to grow.
“The global need is actually the highest in recent years,” Siqueiros said. “We are seeing a very, very high need coupled with a very low number which adds to the devastating number we are seeing right now. We are just really worried about seeing people coming to safety now.”
The proposed cap for fiscal year 2021 still needs final approval from the President. Until he signs, new refugees will not be able to resettle.
Although the limit is historically low, supporters are pushing the president to sign so they can at least start working on new resettlement.
“The United States has a long historical commitment to welcoming people in need. We have the capacity, we have the resources to do it and what we lack right now is just the numbers and the dedication of the current administration to make it happen, “Siqueiros said.” My thoughts are always with families who may seek safety. and we currently do not allow it. “
While refugee groups feel handcuffed by the news, teams like the IRC continue to work with refugee families in their community during a time that has been very difficult. The IRC Facebook page is a great resource for anyone looking for help or looking to lend a hand.
“Something we have to dedicate ourselves to is the people who are here,” Donnelly-Tzul said. “Think about how we can improve the quality of life of the people who are already part of our community, who are making our community richer to be part of it.”
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