Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador is praising an announcement from the Trump Administration that it will drop the cap on refugees admitted to the United States next year to 45,000, even lower than the 50,000 that Labrador and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte proposed in legislation that cleared the Judiciary Committee in June on a party-line vote. Before Trump took office, the cap was set at 110,000.
“I welcome the Trump Administration’s decision to reduce the annual refugee ceiling to a more manageable level,” Labrador said this afternoon in a statement. “While the Obama Administration increased the refugee ceiling at a time when security threats from abroad were growing, President Trump is exercising smart leadership by putting the safety of the American people first.”
The proposed new cap is the lowest since the modern U.S. refugee system was established in 1980, and the administration’s announcement drew criticism from refugee advocates and from congressional opponents.
Labrador and Goodlatte’s bill also would give states and local governments veto power over any refugee resettlement within their borders; step up security monitoring of resettled refugees until they qualify as permanent residents; and require a review of all prospective refugees’ social media postings, among other provisions. Labarador calls it “a good reform and modernization of the refugee system.”
Despite the 110,000 cap that then-President Obama proposed, the U.S. will have admitted only 54,000 this fiscal year, which ends Saturday, ABC News reports, after Trump initially banned refugee admissions for 120 days, then set a new 50,000 cap through an executive order.
Goodlatte, R-Va., also praised the Trump Administration’s decision, saying, “The Trump Administration’s refugee ceiling for the coming year maintains our nation’s generosity toward those in need, and importantly, ensures limited resources are used wisely and our citizens are protected in light of ongoing terrorist threats.”
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued his own statement decrying the decision, calling it “devastating to tens of thousands of innocent people and a blow to America’s standing as the premier global humanitarian leader.” Cardin said, “The United States has for decades provided safe harbor for those fleeing violence and persecution around the world while also safeguarding our national security.”