So what else is new!
Senator Dianne Feinstein and pals sent a sharply worded letter to the Trump Administration demanding their right to a consultation on the number of refugees the Trump team is willing to admit to the US beginning in two weeks.
The funny thing is that since I have been following the US Refugee Admissions Program there was never such a demand prior to Trump and I can remember very well that Obama wasn’t exactly on fire to hold consultations with the House and Senate. Such “consultations” were held at the staff level without fanfare. But that was then and now that Trump is president they demand their rights!
What is never said is that there is no requirement in the law that says we must admit any refugees to the US—the “ceiling” could be zero!
Since I have been doing a series on the FY2021 Presidential Determination, go here, I’m posting this ho-hum piece of news to help round-out my archives on the topic.
Feinstein, Durbin, Nadler, Lofgren to Trump: Consult Congress about Refugee Resettlement as Required by Law
Washington–Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) joined Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) to call on the Trump administration to restore our nation’s long-standing bipartisan tradition of providing safety to the world’s most vulnerable refugees and to immediately engage in meaningful consultations with Congress, as required by law, before setting the annual refugee admission target for fiscal year 2021.
Prior to any presidential determination on the number of refugees to be admitted in the upcoming fiscal year, the law requires that cabinet-level officials representing the president engage in a consultation with Senate and House Judiciary Committee leaders. The law is clear that the consultation must occur before the start of the fiscal year. Yet, for the last three years, the Trump administration has refused to consult with Congress in a timely or meaningful manner.
“Fiscal Year 2021 begins in less than a month, yet we have not received a proposed refugee admissions plan from the Administration and the consultation has not been scheduled. As such, we urge you to immediately transmit the Administration’s proposed refugee admissions report to Congress and expeditiously schedule the statutorily-required consultation,” the members wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Homeland Security Under Secretary Chad Wolf, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.
The members continued, “Given the magnitude of this crisis, the United States must not abandon our leadership role in providing safety to refugees who are most in need of resettlement. Surely we can do more when it comes to helping refugees.”
In their letter, the members outline how the Trump administration has decimated the United States Refugee Admissions Program and ignored the statutorily-authorized role of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. The administration has set the annual refugee admissions target at embarrassingly low numbers for three years in a row. In FY 2018, the administration set a target of 45,000 refugees and ultimately allowed just 22,507 refugees into the United States. In FY 2019, the administration slashed the target to just 30,000, which was the number of refugees ultimately admitted. This fiscal year, the administration dropped America’s moral standing to a new low by setting a target of only 18,000 refugees and issuing an executive order purporting to allow state and local governments to block refugees from being resettled in their communities. As of September 4, 2020, the administration has admitted just 9,474 refugees this fiscal year.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were more than 79 million people displaced worldwide at the end of 2019, a record high. Among this displaced population are 26 million refugees – the highest number in history – more than half of whom are children. UNHCR estimates that 1.4 million refugees are in urgent need of resettlement.
Full text of the letter is available here.
Only a couple of years ago the refugee industry was demanding 75,000 refugees from the Trump Administration but now, election year, it is 95,000!
This line from the letter has become the industry’s talking point for FY2021:
Since the enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980, the United States had set an average resettlement goal of 95,000 refugees per year until President Trump took office.
It makes the gullible media believe that all Presidents over the decades have wanted that huge number, but indeed even their darling Obama never dared to set a ceiling that high until he was ready to leave office.***
Have a look at the ceilings and actual admission numbers going back to 1980.
The high numbers in the early years represented large numbers of Southeast Asians and Russians escaping Communism.
When looking at the graph, consider the Presidents over those years.
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) Extremely concerned about helping those escaping Communism
George HW Bush: 1989-1993
Bill Clinton: 1993-2001
George Bush: 2001-2009
Barack Obama: 2009-2017
*** I don’t know why but, the Migration Policy Institute does not have Obama’s last ceiling at 110,000 as the data maintained by the Refugee Processing Center shows. See chart in this post.