WASHINGTON — Yesterday, the government sent its report to Congress proposing the admission of just 15,000 refugees for this fiscal year. Before Trump, no president of either party had ever set the annual refugee admissions so low, including last year’s 18,000 cap. 

To be accepted for admission as a refugee, an individual must demonstrate that they have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution, and undergo a screening and approval process that often takes several years to complete. The Trump administration will end this fiscal year having admitted approximately half of last year’s 18,000 people, failing to meet its historically low goal. 

Manar Waheed, senior legislative and advocacy counsel for the ACLU, said: 

“Over the past three and a half years, this administration has shown a callous disregard for human life and hatred for Black and Brown communities. Trump has repeatedly shut down our immigration system for people of color; from the Muslim ban, including the expansion targeting more Africans, to attempts to end DACA, family separation, and shutting down our borders. By dramatically lowering our refugee admissions each year, the Trump administration is trying to grind these systems to a halt and ensure that Black and Brown immigrants do not have refuge in our nation. The government also continues to conflate refugee admissions and asylum in order to use one system to shut down another — our immigration laws provide for both, not one or the other. 

“America has historically raised its refugee admissions in order to provide help during crises around the world. America must play a role in the protection of people seeking safety from persecution, torture, and genocide as our laws demand. That is the America we fight to be.”

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