WASHINGTON | The administration of President Donald Trump announced late Wednesday a further drastic reduction in the quota of refugees admitted to the United States, with no more than 15,000 people admitted next year, a further turn of the screw a month before the presidential election .
The State Department made the announcement half an hour before the start of fiscal year 2021 on October 1, narrowly meeting the deadline set by law following criticism from lawmakers.
Over the next 12 months, a maximum of 15,000 people may be admitted to the country, barring a change in administration, compared to 18,000 refugees allowed in the 2020 budget year.
This is a new historic low, and this figure is far from the 100,000 people welcomed annually under the administration of previous President Barack Obama.
Donald Trump, whose fight against immigration is one of the main battle horses, has already suspended refugee admissions for months this year, citing the COVID-19 pandemic explaining this new turn of the screw, the State Department stressed that the United States wanted to help refugees “as close to their homes as possible,” until they could return home.
“By focusing first on ending the conflicts that cause displacement, and providing humanitarian assistance abroad to protect and assist displaced people, we can prevent the destabilizing effects of such displacement on affected countries and their communities. neighbors, ”he said in a statement.
The State Department thus evoked the need for a “diplomatic solution” in Venezuela, where the United States tries unsuccessfully to overthrow Socialist President Nicolas Maduro.
Nearly five million Venezuelans have left their country since the end of 2015 to escape the political and economic crisis.
During a tour of South America last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had met Venezuelan refugees and expressed his appreciation to Colombia and Brazil for hosting them.
Refugee advocates had called on the Trump administration to increase the number of admissions, in the face of global conflicts and the instability born of the pandemic.
Nearly 80 million people across the planet have had to leave their homes, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, a number that has doubled in ten years.
The Democratic candidate for the White House Joe Biden, for his part, pledged to increase the number of refugees admitted to 125,000, affirming that the reception of persecuted people was in line with American values.
Donald Trump’s campaign ran ads claiming Biden’s stance on refugees showed he was “weak” and would bring people from “dangerous” places.