1. Press Release
  2. Immigrants & Refugees

FCNL Criticizes Much Reduced U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program

By Timothy McHugh, September 27, 2019


Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) criticized the drastic reduction of refugees to be admitted for resettlement in the U.S. This follows the Trump administration’s announcement late yesterday to resettle only 18,0000 refugees in FY 2020 – the lowest in the 39-year history of the program.

Contact: Tim McHugh, Friends Committee on National Legislation, media@fcnl.org; 202-903-2515

“The US should be open to those who seek refuge from violence and persecution. Diminishing the number of people allowed in the United States as refugees diminishes us as a nation,” said FCNL Executive Secretary Diane Randall. “Quakers have long advocated that we must welcome refugees. It is our moral responsibility and opportunity to care for and protect one another.”

Upon taking office in 2017, the Trump administration set a refugee admissions goal of 45,000—the lowest since the program’s inception in 1980. Last year, the program was cut again, down to 30,000.

Instead of committing to increasing its share in meeting the growing global refugee problem, the administration opted to set an all-time low for FY2020. The number was also announced just days ahead of the end of the fiscal year and before any meaningful consultation with Congress, as required by law.

“In order to be ‘the most generous nation in the world when it comes to welcoming those in need of humanitarian protection,’ as the Administration claims, we would need to welcome in well more than 18,000 refugees. The most generous nation in the world doesn’t cut its refugee number by nearly 85%,” explained Hannah Graf Evans, FCNL’s Legislative Representative for Immigration and Refugee Policy. “We are capable of much more. The blindness of this administration focused on building strength through isolation will only serve to weaken us.”

An estimated 65 million people are displaced worldwide—an unprecedented 22.5 million of whom are refugees fleeing to other countries. Between 75 and 80 percent of refugees and internally displaced people are women and children. FCNL advocates the United States should resettle at least 95,000 refugees annually, the historic average throughout the duration of the program.

To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.

Timothy McHugh

  • Director of Media Relations

Tim leads organizational efforts to communicate about issues, victories, priorities, and updates through all available news channels – specifically the major media outlets. He is responsible for providing FCNL staff with opportunities to convey our message – in print and through the airways – to the public and throughout the country. He keeps FCNL issues and staff on the collective radars of reporters and journalists nationwide. Lastly, he runs FCNL several media-focused social media channels.