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USA: Congress should oppose Trump's 30,000 refugee cap

Campaigners outside the US Embassy in London last year © Amnesty International

Historic average is 95,000 per year, and 70,000 was target even after 9/11

‘This must be perceived as an all-out attack against our country’s ability to resettle refugees’ - Ryan Mace

Reacting to news that US President Donald Trump plans to restrict the country’s refugee admissions number to 30,000 for the 2019 fiscal year, Ryan Mace, Amnesty International USA’s Grassroots Advocacy and Refugee Specialist, said:

“The Trump administration is abandoning this country’s promise to refugees.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates another undeniable political attack against people who have been forced to flee their homes.

“This is the lowest goal in the history of the programme, and compounded by this administration's history of creating roadblock after roadblock for refugees to arrive, this must be perceived as an all-out attack against our country’s ability to resettle refugees both now and in the future.

“There is absolutely no excuse for not accepting more refugees in the coming year.

“We urge Congress to make clear their opposition to this, especially as they finalise FY19 appropriations.”

Under George W Bush figure was 70,000

Every year, the US president determines the number of refugees who should be resettled in the US in the upcoming fiscal year, signalling US commitment to protect those fleeing violence and persecution. Last year, President Trump lowered the refugee admissions quota to 45,000, the lowest refugee goal since the country’s Refugee Act was enacted in 1980.

Following the 9/11 attacks in 2011, George W Bush set the figure at 70,000, showing that the administration recognised the importance of strong US support for refugee protection even during a time of national calamity. Since 1980, the yearly refugee target has averaged 95,000.

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