Nation’s Mayors Urge Administration to Rescind Executive Order Reducing Refugee Admissions

November 26, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – Eighty-eight mayors representing cities across the country are urging the Trump administration to rescind an executive order that revamped the nation’s system for resettling refugees and could entirely curtail the resettlement of refugees in their communities.

In a letter sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, a bipartisan coalition, all members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, pushed for the voiding of the September 26 order which requires state and local governments to provide written consent authorizing the initial resettlement of refugees into their respective communities.

On the same day, the administration announced it was slashing the number of refugees who may enter the country in 2020 to 18,000–the lowest since the program began in 1980 and a reduction of nearly 80% from just a few years ago.

In the last full year of the Obama administration, the refugee ceiling was 85,000. This year, the Trump administration set the limit at 30,000.

Pompeo announced the new limit at the State Department, saying it reflected the “daunting operational reality” of addressing what he called a “humanitarian crisis” involving people claiming asylum in the United States.

In their letter, the mayors said the executive order “would fundamentally change the structure” of the resettlement program and “ultimately lead to a patchwork of conflicting policies.”

“It will also leave thousands of refugees, former refugees, and U.S. citizens without consistent and routine access to integration services and other supports,” the letter continued. “This is an unprecedented and harmful procedure, particularly given that resettlement agencies already consult regularly with state and local stakeholders regarding community needs.” 

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has long advocated for policies that provide adequate support for refugees and refugee resettlement. 

It’s most recent policy statement on the issue called for admitting at least 100,000 refugees annually.

The mayors’ letter cites the positive impact refugees have on the cultural and economic prosperity of cities and the nation as a reason to increase the cap.

The full text of the letter can be found here

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