Donald Trump’s Refugee Policy Is Bureaucratic Sadism

Donald Trump’s Refugee Policy Is Bureaucratic Sadism

Donald Trump dishonors America in so many ways that it isn’t possible to keep them all in mind and still remember to brush your teeth. For example, how often do you reflect on the fact that the Trump administration has all but ended the tradition of accepting refugees into this country? In the decades between the presidency of Jimmy Carter, who signed the Refugee Act of 1980, and that of Barack Obama, the United States admitted an average of about 80,000 refugees annually. In some periods, such as after September 11, the numbers fell, but over the years, under Republican and Democratic administrations, the national commitment to provide a safe place for persecuted and desperate people persisted.

Under Trump, the refugee program has almost collapsed. Last year, the administration set a ceiling of just 18,000 refugees. It actually admitted 10,000. Several weeks ago, the administration announced that the ceiling for fiscal year 2021 will go down to 15,000. Becca Heller, the executive director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, told me, “I think if Trump is reelected, it’s the end of the U.S. refugee program.”