Refugee Resettlement Cap
“Right now, nothing has gone through, but we’ve heard through the grapevine that the government is looking at putting the cap at 25,000 refugees coming in the country this coming year,” Bethany Christian Services’ Chris Palusky says.
This would be a major decrease of what the resettlement number currently is – 45,000 – and what it was for the fiscal year of 2017, which the Obama administration had set for 110,000 refugees.
“Even this year alone, a good benchmark, it was supposed to be 45 thousand refugees to come in the country. Well, the process has become more difficult and much slower and we’ve seen the decrease that the government has pushed… So, you can see it’s becoming more and more difficult for refugees to come in the country.”
According to the Refugee Council USA, only 18,327 refugees have been resettled in the fiscal year of 2018.
A major contributing factor of the gap between the resettlement cap and the number actually resettled is likely due to the travel ban that was upheld by the Supreme Court in June.
This travel ban puts restrictions on travelers from Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Venezuela, and North Korea. Each of these countries has seen people fleeing from dangers.
“The travel ban is being upheld and it makes it more difficult for refugees to come to the United States. So, obviously, the process will become even more difficult or remain difficult for refugees,” Palusky says.
“Right now, we’re seeing refugees coming from places like Congo, Burma, countries that are not on the travel ban list. Although they’re not huge numbers, there are some numbers.”
While 25,000 is a large decrease from the current cap, President Trump’s senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller, has advocated for a limit as low as 15,000.
Palusky says he believes the resettlement cap could eventually drop as low as this.
“If you look three years ago, it was 118,000. Now the cap is at 45,000 of which we only actualized 25,000. I would not be surprised that in two years from now if there were no refugees coming into the country. We’ve seen the agenda. We’ve seen what’s happening and there’s an intentional push to keep refugees and immigrants out of the country, which we would not support.”
Other Nations’ Refugee Resettlements
Other, smaller nations are taking in thousands of refugees that have not been admitted to the U.S. or other countries that have closed their borders or scaled back their refugee admittance.
Palusky points out the refugee situation in Lebanon is out of control because of how many refugees have been admitted. One out of every five people is a refugee in the nation. People have fled from the Syrian crisis and Palestinian wars.
The United States is about 946 times larger than Lebanon. Yet, according to Human Rights Watch, there are around 1.5 million Syrian refugees that have resettled in Lebanon in recent years, and according to Pew Research, three million refugees from around the world have resettled in the United States since the Refugee Act of 1980 was passed.
“You’ve got smaller countries stepping up to the task, taking in refugees, and again, these aren’t just people that we’re letting in willy-nilly and nor are they. But, it’s a need that we could fill and I think that the world is looking at the U.S. now, scratching their heads, wondering what is going on,” Palusky says.
The United States’ Lead
As the United States continues to decrease the resettlement cap, there is a threat that other countries currently accepting refugees may follow and decrease their cap as well or close their borders entirely.
Hungary has already put a barbed-wire fence along the border to majorly scale back refugee and immigration admittance.
If more countries follow, many refugees would be forced to stay in dangerous situations.
“We are seeing in this decade an anti-immigration global movement almost, something like we’ve never seen before. And, at the same time, we’ve never seen such a global refugee crisis,” Palusky says.
“You’ve got 70 million people that are displaced globally, 25 [million] approximately of those are refugees, meaning they’re fleeing outside of the boundaries of their country. And now, we’re seeing countries close their doors to refugees…Right now, the world’s not in a great place and we’d like to encourage countries like the U.S. to open their doors in a regulated way.”
Palusky says refugees add to society and some people have even requested to bring in more refugees to their home areas because they’re grateful for them and their impressive, motivated work ethic.
Bethany assists in refugee resettlement work and refugee foster care.
Palusky encourages you to get involved with their programs. Get to know a refugee, support, pray for, and encourage the least of these.
“The widows, the orphans, the refugees… if you open up the New Testament to hear Jesus speaking, He’s always talking about the least of these [in] Matthew 25. These are the least of these,” Palusky says.
“These are the poor of the world and as Christians, people of faith, we need to be serving these people.”
Advocate to your congressmen and representatives that the refugee resettlement cap should not be cut again, and pray for the global refugee crisis.