Washington: Amid huge outcry from Humanitarian groups, the United States has announced that it will cut down its refugee intake to 45,000 in 2018, approximately half the figure of 2016. This is the lowest figure ever requested by a President in at least the last 3 decades and is also less than half the cap of 110,000 set by ex-President Barack Obama.
During a press conference call a US Government official briefed reporters and stated that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will soon be briefing the Government of the United States of America. The coming days will most probably bring with it a Presidential determination on the issue.
Post the announcement, the regional breakdown statistics will be: Africa – 19,000; East Asia – 5,000; Europe and Central Asia – 2,000; Latin America/Caribbean – 1,500; Near East/South Asia – 17,500, bringing the total to 45,000. The new numbers have elicited a sharp response for Human Rights Organizations as the US has taken in more than 3 million people from all over the world since 1975.
Government officials said they planned to complete by next month a thorough review of security measures put in place for vetting new arrivals. “The security and safety of the American people is our chief concern,” added an official.
The official noted that resettlement of refugees was only one part of the other aspects the United States’ response to the displacement crisis plaguing the world presently. The US provided more than USD 1.4 billion in 2017 toward humanitarian assistance in the ongoing Syrian crisis. It also helped the Iraqi cause with more than USD 581 million.
Another statement by the Government official said, “While maintaining the US leadership role in humanitarian protection, an integral part of this mission is to ensure that refugee resettlement opportunities only go to those who are eligible for such protection and who are not known to present a risk to the safety and security of our country.”
The announcement drew severe criticism and sharp reaction from several prominent figures. Senator Tom Carper called the move “inhumane” point blank, while Senator Dianne Feinstein said that a cap of 45,000 was “unacceptable” and that it “does not reflect the needs of the worldwide humanitarian crisis.”