(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08) joined Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) and 56 House Members in writing to President Donald Trump blasting Trump’s decision to set American refugee admissions for Fiscal Year 2020 at just 18,000, a further drop from the already-historically low figure set by the administration last year. The members demand the administration show greater charity to refugees fleeing war and famine and raise the number to 110,000.
“We write to encourage you to set the Presidential Determination (PD) for Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2020 at 110,000. Your decision to set the cap at 18,000 is unconscionable in a world where nearly one person is forcibly uprooted every two seconds,” the Members write. “Our responsibility to help more of these victims is imperative. Throughout our history, the United States has been a beacon of hope and sanctuary for refugees fleeing for their lives.”
For several years now, the world has remained mired in what is the largest refugee crisis in recorded history. Over 70 million people spanning the earth have been displaced for terrible causes ranging from violence and famine to persecution and war. Over 25 million refugees are included in that dreadful toll, including over half of whom are under the age of 18.
The United States screens refugees more stringently than any other traveler allowed to enter the country. The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program has safely and successfully resettled more than three million refugees from around the world to American communities across the country since 1975. Refugee applicants must undergo a robust and thorough screening process that takes roughly two years and involves our nation’s top security and counterterror experts. The exhaustive vetting process includes checking fingerprints and other biometric data against terrorist and criminal databases and multiple interviews through various Federal agencies.
Since the enactment of the 1980 Refugee Act, the average annual goal for refugee admissions has been 95,000. In Fiscal Year 2016, the U.S. resettled approximately 85,000 refugees, and the Presidential Determination for Fiscal Year 2017 was 110,000. Since Executive Order 13769 was signed, the number of refugees coming to the United States each month has dropped precipitously. The Trump administration’s prior PD of 30,000 for Fiscal Year 2019 was already the lowest number ever set by a U.S. executive, and the number for FY 2020 cuts that pathetic figure in half.
“Your decision to set this PD at 18,000 runs counter to these intonations and fulfill your predecessor’s worst fears about our national future. We reiterate our call for you to increase the Presidential Determination for Refugee Admissions to 110,000. Our future depends on that charity and far-sightedness,” the Members conclude.
The letter is signed by Reps. Pascrell, Don Beyer (D-VA-08), David Cicilline (D-RI-01), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07), Juan Vargas (D-CA-51), Betty McCollum (D-MN-04), Steve Cohen (D-TN-09), Tom Suozzi (D-NY-03), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03), Mark Pocan (D-WI-02), Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09), Ro Khanna (D-CA-17), Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18), Jared Huffman (D-CA-02), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA-47), André Carson (D-IN-07), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-03), Gwen Moore (D-WI-04), Darren Soto (D-FL-09), Hank Johnson (D-GA-04), Joseph Kennedy (D-MA-04), Bobby Rush (D-IL-01), James McGovern (D-MA-02), Peter Visclosky (D-IN-01), Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-CA-44), Gerald Connolly (D-VA-11), Joaquin Castro (D-TX-20), Alcee Hastings (D-FL-20), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-07), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA-29), David Price (D-NC-04), Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12), James Himes (D-CT-04), Gregory Meeks (D-NY-05), Linda Sánchez (D-CA-38), Ted Deutch (D-FL-22), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12), Peter Welch (D-VT-AL), Dina Titus (D-NV-01), Dan Kildee (D-MI-05), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30), Bill Foster (D-IL-11), Chellie Pingree (D-ME-01), William Keating (D-MA-09), Eliot Engel (D-NY-16), Joe Courtney (D-CT-02), Adam Smith (D-WA-09), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19), Grace Meng (D-NY-06), Brian Higgins (D-NY-26), Nita M. Lowey (D-NY-17), and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01).