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Refugee resettlement programs face possible 'dismantling' if Trump admin restricts numbers even more

Noelle E. C. Evans
On July 2nd, 2019 demonstrators gathered outside of the Federal Building urging Congress to take action to end for-profit immigrant detention centers, family separations, and to condemn poor conditions for detainees.

Some Trump administration officials have proposed not allowing any refugees to settle in the U.S. next year, according to a recent report in Politico

Catholic Family Center in Rochester, a community-based family resource center, condemns that idea, saying that refugees are vital to economic growth.

The refugee resettlement program has an annual set limit on the number of people who can be admitted into the country. The president decides that number.

Since taking office in 2017, President Donald Trump has significantly lowered the cap on people who can be admitted into the country under this program – people fleeing persecution, or war-torn areas. In 2016, before he took office, there were 85,000 refugees resettled in the U.S. In 2019, the limit was set at 30,000.

Getachew Beshir, a refugee resettlement program manager at the Catholic Family Center, said that while the proposal to not allow any refugees next year doesn’t cut the program itself, it could dismantle it.

“The government is not directly asking the refugee resettlement programs to close their business or what they are doing,” Beshir said. “But by starving the system, it will result in dismantling the refugee resettlement process that has been in operation in the present form since the 1980s.”

Beshir added that the main goal of refugee resettlement programs is to save the lives of people who are being persecuted. Once the refugees are here, the programs help them integrate and become self-sufficient.

David Kallick, deputy director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, said that refugee resettlement agencies and the people they help settle play an important role in the revitalization of major New York state cities, including Rochester. He said it helps refugees, U.S. foreign policy, and in the process, New York as well.

Historically, New York is one of three states that have taken in the most refugees, along with California and Texas. The Catholic Family Center said that Rochester is one of the top 50 metropolitan areas in the country for refugee resettlement, along with Buffalo and Syracuse.