LAUNCH 2017 BACKGROUND
Since taking office, Trump has launched ongoing attacks on refugee resettlement, from halting refugee admissions as part of his travel ban to nominating the virulently anti-immigrant/refugee Ronald Mortensen to lead the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration at the State Department. Last year, Trump set the refugee admissions goal at 45,000 – the lowest level in U.S. history – and three quarters of through the year, we are on track to resettle less than half that number. 76 resettlement agencies are slated to close or severely reduce services this year, and the number of federal resettlement contractors will be reduced in September, eliminating a yet unknown number of agencies from the nine that currently exist.
Trump has signaled his intention to reduce refugee admissions even further in 2019. The New York Times reported next year's number to be around 25,000 refugees and Politico revealed that Trump has previously considered numbers as low as 5,000 refugees. That would be a 95% reduction of over the historical average admissions goal of 95,000.
The decimation of our resettlement program comes at a time we are facing the largest global refugee crisis in recorded history. UNHCR reports the number of forcibly displaced persons worldwide has increased to 68.5 million, 25.43 million of whom are registered refugees. At the height of this crisis the number of refugees resettled in the U.S. decreased more than in any other country in 2017, according to a Pew Research Center report. This represents the first time since the adoption of the 1980 U.S. Refugee Act that the U.S. resettled fewer refugees than the rest of the world.
Trump’s ongoing demonization of refugees as a danger to U.S. security and a threat to “Western culture” jeopardizes the safety of tens of thousands of people, separates families, and encourages nativist movements worldwide. These devastating policy changes for refugees and asylum seekers are echoed at the local level in many U.S. states, including the introduction of measures to restrict resettlement or withdraw from refugee services.
We Are All America 2018 Recap