Search form

Press Release

IRC condemns confirmed Trump administration refugee cap

Refugee decision weakens America, will result in lives lost

Today, through the new Presidential Determination on refugees, the Trump Administration confirmed it will set the annual admissions ceiling for refugees during the 2018 fiscal year at 45,000. This represents a drastic reduction in the United States’ refugee admissions, which on average has exceeded 95,000 since 1980.

The International Rescue Committee condemns this record-low cap as a tragic and misguided policy error that harms America as well as refugees. Lives will not just be ruined, they will also be lost. The arbitrary and low refugee cap follows the administration's efforts to broaden and make permanent the misguided Travel Ban, and the decision to withdraw DACA and put the lives of 800,000 young Dreamers under a cloud of fear and uncertainty. Independently, and collectively, these moves set a detrimental precedent for American global leadership and moral standing. 

Said David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee:

“This administration's decision to halve the number of refugees admitted to America is a double-blow: to victims of war ready to start a new life, and to America's reputation as a beacon of hope in the world. 

“This decision has no moral, security, or economic basis in fact. Those facts tell us allies follow our lead in welcoming refugees, they tell us that no refugee has committed a lethal terrorist attack on U.S. soil, and they tell us that refugees contribute to the economy and enrich our society.

“For generations, refugees have become proud Americans. For the lifeline of U.S. refugee resettlement to be cut at a time of record refugee numbers is a betrayal of America's history, and of its identity. Further, when America cuts its numbers the danger is that it sets the stage for other nations to follow suit; A tragic and contagious example of moral failure.”

As mandated by the 1980 Refugee Act, the president sets the annual refugee admissions ceiling, known as the Presidential Determination, before the start of the new fiscal year (October 1) following a required consultation with Congress. 

Traditionally, the U.S. admissions ceiling has been set commensurate with global humanitarian need, capacity of the resettlement program, and U.S. strategic interests. The IRC urges Congress to continue to voice concern on the implementation of this historically low number. It is our position that the admissions ceiling, to ensure continued U.S. leadership, must be at least 75,000 refugees. For more on that policy position, visit here.

IRC spokespeople are available for interviews. Please contact communications [at] rescue.org for more information and to schedule an interview.


About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.