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Immigration Law

Black Friday for Refugees

Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 230 / Friday, November 29, 2019 / Presidential Documents

"By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, in accordance with section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the ‘‘Act’’) (8 U.S.C. 1157), after appropriate consultations with the Congress, and consistent with the Report on Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2020 submitted to the Congress on September 26, 2019, I hereby determine and authorize as follows: The admission of up to 18,000 refugees to the United States during Fiscal Year 2020 is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest. These admissions shall be allocated among refugees of special humanitarian concern to the United States in accordance with the following allocations....."

Commentary by Rep. Jimmy Gomez

"President Donald Trump has declared that this country is full, particularly to more refugees.  He said it during a trip to the southern border in April, during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition this spring, in tweets to his 59.6 million followers, and in a rally in May. Doing so served two purposes: It was a rallying cry to solidify his base; and a declaration to refugees and asylum-seekers to stay away. And while it’s true our immigration system is strained — due in part to the president’s efforts to sabotage it — it’s a lie to say we can’t accommodate anyone else. ... Trump recently moved to drastically restrict the number of refugees our nation accepts, down to 18,000 in fiscal year 2020. It's the lowest number of refugees accepted since the program was established in 1980, 78 percent lower than the 85,000 cap set by President Barack Obama. ... A declining birthrate combined with an aging population have helped slow U.S. population growth to levels not seen since the Great Depression. In fact, the U.S. doesn’t even break into the top 100 most densely populated countries worldwide, ranked only at 146 between Venezuela and Kyrgyzstan. But Trump’s comments about the U.S. being “full” clearly weren’t rooted in facts or data, but rather his own perception of American attitudes toward immigration. ... While the president’s base supports his anti-immigrant agenda, a majority of Americans strongly disagree with both his radical perspective and the draconian tactics used by his administration. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found 75 percent of respondents believed immigration was good for the country. And a new Gallup poll on attitudes about Central American refugees revealed that 57 percent of Americans — with increased approval from Republicans and independents — support taking them in and making this country their home. ... The spirit of Trump’s assertion that our country is full — and that of remarks he’s previously made — have been echoed throughout the world by dictators of the past and far-right extremists of today. The phrase evokes images of hundreds of Jewish refugees murdered in concentration camps after their German ocean liner, the SS St. Louis, was turned away by the U.S. in 1939. It takes us back to 2014 when Nick Griffin, former leader of the British National Party — whose platform is “a complete halt to immigration” — declared “our country’s full, we’ll shut the door,” to those escaping unimaginable violence. ... Contrary to the Trump administration’s efforts to brand them as such, refugees do not represent a threat to national security, nor are they drains on our country’s social safety net programs. Not only are they the most intensively vetted population to enter the U.S., subjected to years of security screenings including thorough interviews, background checks and biometric data collection, but they also help grow our local and national economies and fill critical gaps in our labor market. You’d think someone who touts himself as a businessman would appreciate the fact that nearly half of Fortune 500 companies were founded by refugees, immigrants or their children — but that would obviously undermine the false narratives he used to propel him into the White House. ... The rhetoric of our leaders should remind us of our shared values — justice, tolerance and empathy — that make the U.S. a beacon of hope around the world. Whether Trump likes it or not, refugees were here at the start of the American experiment and have inextricably woven themselves into the tapestry of this country. And, for that, I am truly thankful."