With Trump Away On Foreign Trip, State Department Quietly Drops Rules On Refugee Limits
Jonah Bennett on May 27, 2017
The Department of State quietly decided Thursday to drop a rule limiting the number of refugees allowed into the United States.
Although the Trump administration has notably opposed an increase in the influx of refugees, the State Department moved in full opposition to his plans while he is out of the country, The New York Times reports.
Refugee advocates say that the number of refugees streaming in could move from 830 per week to 1,500 per week by June as a result of the State Department’s Thursday decision, which was sent out by email to various organizations around the world that assist refugees in completing paperwork to enter the U.S.
According to the email, organizations will now be able to bring people in “unconstrained by the weekly quotas that were in place.”
The reason for the quotas in the first place was largely for fiscal reasons. The State Department had limited funding, and thus could only bring in so many refugees. But now that Congress has passed a bill funding the government for 2017, the State Department is less constrained, as the bill itself did not mandate any refugee caps.
A spokeswoman told The New York Times that the State Department adjusted the quotas after speaking with the Department of Justice.
At this point in fiscal year 2017, 45,732 refugees have been admitted into the U.S. President Donald Trump wants a maximum of 50,000 a year, but it does not seem as though he’ll achieve his goal if present trends continue.
Trump’s initial executive order to suspend all refugee admissions for four months has been caught up in the judicial system, with federal judges staying the order. But despite the repeated stays, the number of refugees dropped significantly, which meant that the amount of funding allocated to resettlement organizations also dropped in concert. As such, Church World Service fired 50 percent of its staff in March, and World Relief has laid off more than 140 of its U.S. employees.
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