Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) criticized the recent presidential recommendation of the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States for fiscal year 2021. The new number, 15,000 refugees, is nearly 20% lower than FY2020 while the number of refugees worldwide continues to grow rapidly.
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In FY 2020, the ceiling for refugee resettlement was 18,000, which at that time was the lowest in the 40-year history of the program. Since the 1980s, Republican and Democratic administrations set the admissions figure to approximately 95,000 a year.
“Reducing the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States diminishes us as a nation,” said FCNL general secretary Diane Randall. “Quakers have long advocated on behalf of refugees and welcomed and supported refugees who have made our communities stronger.”
The 15,000-refugee resettlement number for FY 2021, announced at the start of this new fiscal year, will cause significant delays for the program. Five years ago, in FY2015, the ceiling was set at 70,000. The United Nations estimates there are currently some 70 million people who have been forced from their homes, 30 million of whom are refugees.
“In order for the administration to claim the U.S is among the most generous nations in welcoming refugees, it should resettle more refugees, as we have done so in the past. Generous nations don’t cut their refugee resettlement number year after year after year. It is not only a moral imperative for us, it is also our responsibility,” said Ali Rahnama, FCNL’s immigration and refugee policy legislative manager. “We are capable of so much more. We need the Congress to step in and raise this number.”
FCNL advocates the United States should resettle at least 95,000 refugees annually, the historic average of the refugee program.
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.