Durbin, Feinstein Statement on Trump Administration Decision To Slash Refugee Resettlement Goal For Second Year In A Row

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today released the following statement after the Trump administration announced that it will aim to admit 30,000 refugees to the U.S. in the coming year, down from the current level of 45,000:

The Trump administration has once again dropped America’s moral standing to a new low by setting the refugee ceiling at an embarrassingly low 30,000 in the midst of the worst refugee crisis in history. This historically low number betrays America’s values and relinquishes our leadership role in defending human rights.

By refusing to do our part, the Trump administration is not only abandoning America’s long bipartisan history of humanitarian leadership, but also threatening national and regional security. When the United States refuses to do its fair share, we encourage other nations to reject their obligation to resettle refugees.

We urge the administration to reconsider its decision, consult with Congress as required by law, and set a higher annual refugee admissions goal. Let us not return to the shame of our failure to accept the Jewish passengers on the S.S. St. Louis during the Holocaust and turn our backs on those whose lives depend on our help.

Since the enactment of the Refugee Act of 1980, the United States resettled an average of over 80,000 refugees per year until the Trump administration set the refugee admissions ceiling for Fiscal Year 2018 at merely 45,000, the lowest target in history, and failed to resettle even half that number.  In establishing the refugee admissions ceiling for Fiscal Year 2019, the administration also ignored the statutory requirement to engage in meaningful consultation with Senate and House Judiciary Committee leaders prior to the presidential determination on the number of refugees to be admitted.