September 06, 2019

Democrats condemn reported Trump plan to bar most refugees from US
* Administration officials reportedly aim to slash admissions * Beto O’Rourke: ‘We need more refugees, not fewer’Central Americans walk from Mexico to the US side of the border to ask authorities for asylum on 29 April 2018 in Tijuana. Photograph: David McNew/Getty ImagesLeading Democrats have condemned reported moves by the Trump administration to effectively bar refugees arriving from most parts of the world.As reported by the New York Times, 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, the Times said, “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, the paper said, 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 the New York Times, 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% 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.”
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