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Statement on the signing of the FY2020 Presidential Determination

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) responds today to the signing of the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions at just 18,000 refugees for Fiscal Year 2020 – the lowest level in the history of the resettlement program and well below the historic norm of 95,000 refugees. The IRC previously responded to the Administration’s announcement in September that it intended to set this historically low ceiling.

Hans Van de Weerd, Vice President of Resettlement, Asylum, and Integration at the IRC said:

“The President is statutorily obligated to set the refugee admissions goal prior to the end of the fiscal year on September 30. Yet, because the President did not sign the Presidential Determination until November 1, not a single refugee arrived during the month of October. As a result, hundreds of refugees had their flights cancelled up to four times leaving the world’s most vulnerable refugees in limbo and welcoming communities across the United States anxiously waiting.

“The fact that not one refugee was resettled - and not one refugee family reunited in United States in the month of October - is a remarkable low point with no justification. The IRC stands ready to welcome refugees immediately.

"While we stand firm that a refugee admissions level of 18,000 refugees is woefully inadequate, we will look to the administration to ensure that it meets this commitment. We will also look to Congress to support legislation like the Guaranteed Refugee Admissions Ceiling Enhancement (GRACE) Act to return refugee admissions to bipartisan historic levels."

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 26 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.