The White House is defending President Donald Trump's decision to limit the number of refugees the United States will admit in the 2020 fiscal year to 18,000 — down 78% from the 85,000 cap set during the final year of the previous Obama administration.
Trump's critics slammed the presidential determination setting the refugee cap, which was announced late Friday having been initially proposed at the end of September.
"President Trump's decision to close America's doors to refugees fleeing persecution is cruel and shortsighted," former Vice President Joe Biden, who is seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said in a tweet posted Sunday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that focusing on a refugee number ignores larger efforts the United States makes across the globe to benefit people displaced by war, famine and other catastrophes.
"America's support for refugees and other displaced people extends well beyond our immigration system. It includes diplomatic efforts around the world to find solutions to crises," Pompeo said in a statement. "Addressing the core problems that drive refugees away from their homes helps more people more rapidly than resettling them in the United States."
The administration designated alternative areas of focus for refugee resettlement through the end of September 2020.
They include: refugees persecuted or with a well-founded fear of persecution on account of religion (5,000); Iraqis who aided U.S. officials or agencies (4,000); and nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras (1,500).
The remaining 7,500 will come from:
— Referrals by U.S. embassies
— Family reunification ("Priority 3" or a following to join petition)
— Refugees located in Australia, Nauru, or Papua New Guinea subject to an arrangement between the United States and Australia; and
— Those who were in "Ready for Departure" status as of Sept. 30, 2019.
The last point will allow for those refugees whose travel was delayed as a result of the belated presidential determination.
Since taking office, Trump has attempted to drastically reduce refugee admissions to the U.S. His administration also has tried to restrict the arrival of asylum seekers and Temporary Protected Status holders.
Source : VOA