Six weeks ago, the Trump administration set an historically low refugee admissions level of 45,000 in 2018—the lowest in history, and at a time of unprecedented global need. 

Today, The International Rescue Committee (IRC) registers alarm at the dramatic reduction in arrivals. In the first month of the FY2018, 1,247 refugees arrived, compared to 9,945 refugees this time last year. At this pace, the United States would only admit around 15,000 refugees this year. This projection would represent a 72% drop from arrivals in FY17, and 82% in FY16.

“As feared, the administration is ceding its leadership at the expense of the most vulnerable, at the expense of families hoping to be reunited, at the expense of young children seeking a future free from violence” said Jennifer Sime, SVP, U.S. Programs. “Furthermore, the horizon now appears dim for the robust program needed to save these lives. If this moment in time is a test of character and courage, then the U.S. is failing.”

The administration has introduced a host of policy and operational changes over the last month that amount to a slow smothering of the refugee admissions program. These include:

Taken together, these policy changes amount to mountains of bureaucratic red tape that won’t make Americans safer, but that will disrupt, delay or steal away safety for thousands of the world’s most vulnerable.

As a humanitarian organization, the IRC stands firmly against these coordinated moves to systematically break down refugee resettlement, and America’s reputation as a global humanitarian role model. The International Rescue Committee pledges to remain vigilant in ensuring the Administration meets its meager commitment of 45,000.