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Politico’s Ted Hesson’s recent article highlights the disastrous reality that has encompassed the world: America, once known as a safe haven for refugees has shut its doors, knocking the U.S. off its pedestal for being a worldwide leader for asylum seekers and refugees. While effectively ending refugee resettlement, Trump’s deranged asylum process is also leaving Central American refugees, who have been under Trump’s direct fire, vulnerable and in danger. The massive cuts to refugee admissions are taking place under the Trump administration, but the effects will take years to reverse, lasting well beyond Trump’s presidency.
The article is excerpted below and can be read in full here:
President Donald Trump is dramatically slashing the number of refugees allowed into the United States to an all-time low, but the real number of refugees set to be admitted into the country could be far lower than the official limit, as the Trump White House has slowed down every step of the process and created a bottleneck that could last for years.
For example, 4,000 Iraqis are supposed to gain admission this year, but only 465 got in last year because their applications were delayed by heightened vetting and a lack of political will to speed up processing. Only 503 refugees from Central America were admitted last year even though the cap allowed for thousands. Beyond that, the administration has created a new system of limits for different types of refugees and has effectively stopped recruiting new refugees into the pipeline. Since resettlement usually takes years, the impact could last well beyond the Trump era.
The new policy isn’t just a bureaucratic issue — it ends the long-standing U.S. role as the worldwide leader in welcoming people fleeing violence at a time when the number of refugees is at its highest level since World War II. The moves may be popular with Trump’s anti-immigrant base, but critics warn that they endanger the lives of tens of thousands of people who are in danger in their home countries.
“He’s basically trying to eviscerate and totally destroy the program,” said Kerri Talbot, director of federal advocacy for the pro-migrant Immigration Hub. “Their ultimate goal is just to decrease legal immigration into the United States, including refugees.”
Barbara Strack, former chief of the refugee affairs division at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, called the new cap “devastating” to the program.
“It really is just cementing the downward spiral in the refugee numbers during the Trump administration,” she said.
The State Department declined to comment regarding the Trump refugee plan. Officials last month proposed setting the cap for this year at 18,000, the lowest ceiling since Congress created the refugee program in 1980.