The Case for Reopening America’s Doors to Refugees

The Case for Reopening America’s Doors to Refugees
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer checks the documents of migrants who are on their way to apply for asylum in the United States, as they depart Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, Sept. 17, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Llano).

Late last month, President Donald Trump told Congress that his administration plans to further slash the ceiling for refugee admissions during the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1, to 15,000 from an already historically low 18,000. The new limit is less than one-seventh the 110,000 slots that former President Barack Obama approved in 2016. As The New York Times put it, Trump has “virtually sealed off a pathway for the persecuted into the country and obliterated the once-robust American reputation as a sanctuary for the oppressed.”

This comes as the number of refugees worldwide continues to grow. According to the United Nations, there are currently around 80 million forcibly displaced people around the world, including 26 million refugees and more than 4 million asylum-seekers. Trump’s opponent in next month’s presidential election, Joe Biden, has said he will raise the cap on refugees to 125,000. But should he win, he will have his work cut out for him in repairing the U.S. refugee program.

Today on Trend Lines, WPR’s Elliot Waldman is joined by Meredith Owen, interim director of policy and advocacy in the Immigration and Refugee Program at Church World Service, to discuss the Trump administration’s campaign to undermine the U.S. refugee program and what it will take to rebuild it. Click here to read a transcript of an excerpt from the interview.


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Relevant Articles on WPR:
Trump’s Latest Immigration Restrictions Are Ill-Advised—and Un-American
Has the World Learned the Lessons of the 2015 Refugee Crisis?
The World Has Lost the Will to Deal With the Worst Refugee Crisis Since World War II
The Failed Assumptions Behind Central America’s Refugee Crisis

Trend Lines is edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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