Trump under fire for new plan to bar most refugees from entering US

World Saturday 07/September/2019 13:39 PM
By: Times News Service
Trump under fire for new plan to bar most refugees from entering US

Washington: Leading Democrats have condemned reported moves by the Trump administration to effectively bar refugees arriving from most parts of the world.

According to emerging reports, the administration plans to cut back on a decades-old programme that each year admits tens of thousands fleeing war, persecution and famine.

In meetings held over the past several weeks, “one top administration official” has proposed cancelling refugee admissions entirely and leaving the president with the authority to admit refugees in an emergency.

Under a second proposal, reports suggest, citing “current and former administration officials”, the number of refugees admitted would be cut in half, to about 10,000 to 15,000, with precedence given to countries or groups with special status, such as Iraqis and Afghans who have worked with US troops.

Among Democratic presidential candidates, condemnation was swift and fierce.

“We need more refugees, not fewer,” tweeted the former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke. “This administration, which believes the words engraved into the Statue of Liberty should be rewritten, has no idea what our country stands for.

“America was founded by refugees, immigrants, asylum seekers – and every day, they make us stronger.”

The Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren called the initiative “immoral”.

“Our laws and values compel us to help those fleeing violence and oppression,” she wrote. “As president, I’ll welcome at least 175,000 refugees per year by the end of my first term.”

According to reports, officials will consider the proposals next week, seeking to determine the number of admissions for the coming year.

In the first two years of the Trump administration the number of refugees admitted annually has been cut to 30,000, a 70 per cent drop from when Barack Obama left office.

The Obama administration set a goal of 110,000 entries in 2017. About 3 million refugees have been resettled since the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980. The Trump administration is determined to make entry more difficult for all migrants.

In a statement, Betsy Fisher, policy director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, said: “Vulnerable refugees need protection, regardless of their nationality or religion. Restricting their access to safety in the US will undoubtedly cost many lives.”