The following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey’s office. He is one of two individuals elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC. He is a Democrat.
Senator Markey has introduced legislation that would prevent U.S. President from manipulating refugee admissions levels
BOSTON – After he held an immigration rights roundtable discussion in Boston on July 17, at which advocates and immigrants shared stories of the fear running rampant in communities as a result of President Donald Trump’s hateful immigration policies, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement after media reports reveal the Trump administration could propose setting that fiscal year 2020 refugee admissions cap at an unprecedented zero.
In April, Senator Markey, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), and Congressman Joe Neguse (CO-02) introduced the Guaranteed Refugee Admissions Ceiling Enhancement (GRACE) Act, legislation that would prevent a U.S. President from setting a Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions at a level below 95,000 in a given fiscal year.
“When there are more refugees in the world than at any time in our history, Donald Trump would be the U.S. Xenophobe-In-Chief with this cruel proposal,” said Senator Markey. “Refugees come to America in pursuit of what we all want, a safe and secure future for themselves and their families. But Donald Trump only wants to stoke fear and resentment towards immigrants in an effort to get reelected. I know Americans are better than that. Americans want to help because we know refugees are human beings, not threats.
“Congress should pass my GRACE Act, which prevents any American president from setting a refugee admissions ceiling below 95,000. We have the resources to help, Americans have the desire to help, and we have a foundation of being a beacon for those who need help. This country has always been a refuge for those in need. We can’t let Donald Trump destroy that tradition and divide us,” said Senator Markey.
In September 2017, President Trump announced that the cap for fiscal year 2018 refugee admissions would be set at a record-low 45,000. President Obama had set the previous year’s admissions cap at 110,000 — in line with the historic average of 95,000, and justified by the more than 25 million refugees across the globe.
Yet in fiscal year 2018, the United States welcomed a mere 22,491 resettled refugees, less than half the 45,000 cap. President Trump has since doubled down on his resolve to undermine the refugee admissions program; in September 2018, he set the fiscal year 2019 refugee ceiling at a mere 30,000.