Top USCIS refugee official leaving; more evidence admissions slowdown could continue

We reported here on January 1 that the Trump refugee numbers, at the present rate of arrival, would come in at half of the CEILING of 45,000 set for FY18.
By the way, George Bush had two years that saw refugee admissions in the 20,000 range.
Trump will set a record if he comes in below George W. Bush’s two lowest years of 27,070 (2002) and 28,117 (2003).
(Yesterday, Michael Leahy at Breitbart posted a more detailed look at the numbers so far.)

hans van de weerd bald
Hans Van de Weerd of the two hats (IRC and RCUSA) is the go-to-guy for media comments these days.  As you know RCUSA is the lobbying arm of the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program. My question: is Hans still a Dutch citizen? Bio here:   http://www.phocuswrightconference.com/Whos-Coming/Speakers/2016/Hans-Van-de-Weerd

Here Reuters reports on the retirement of Barbara Strack (hat tip: Joanne):

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – One of the top U.S. government officials working on refugee issues announced her impending retirement on Tuesday, and refugee advocates expressed concern about the fate of the country’s resettlement program which faces mounting pressure from the Trump administration.

Barbara Strack, a career official and chief of the Refugee Affairs Division at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, did not specify when she will leave her post, but USCIS spokesman R. Carter Langston said it would be in January.

[….]

“It’s something I’ve been planning towards for a long time, and it’s not driven by policy considerations,” Strack said. “I will deeply miss the colleagues and friendships that I‘m leaving behind, and the important mission of refugee resettlement. It’s been a privilege to be part of this community for the last 12 years, working to make the U.S. refugee resettlement program robust and secure.”

Advocates expressed concern at the timing of Strack’s retirement, saying it could further hamper U.S. refugee admissions. It was unclear immediately who would replace her.

[….]

The Refugee Affairs Division, which Strack oversees, includes dozens of officers charged with interviewing refugees abroad for resettlement in the United States.

[….]

Advocates for resettlement and some U.S. officials have expressed alarm at what they see as a slowdown in trips abroad known as circuit rides, in which USCIS officers interview refugees.

“The number of circuit rides has gone down drastically with currently only a few planned,” said Hans Van de Weerd, chair of Refugee Council USA***, a coalition of non-governmental groups working on refugee issues. “Many more will need to be scheduled soon to resettle 45,000 refugees and we don’t have any information about whether they will.”

More from Reuters here.
*** See my recent post on RCUSA the lobbying shop for the nine federal contractors which receive the vast majority of their funding from the US taxpayer. With the reduction in paying clients (aka refugees) entering the US, their budgets are taking huge hits.  Go here and see IRC salaries, spokesman Hans does not make the top tier.

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