Since his inauguration, President Trump has been enacting controversial laws and encouraging derogatory rhetoric that is drastically impacting the lives of refugees, undocumented immigrants, and naturalized citizens across the United States. Unfortunately, backlash from the general population and various civil rights groups doesn’t seem to be slowing him down.
On September 17, 2018, President Trump announced that his administration is capping the number of refugees who can seek asylum down to 30,000. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, all asylees are political refugees until their case has been determined by the government. The purpose of asylum is to provide a safe haven to people fleeing the violence and persecution in their homelands. This may sound familiar, as it is the very principle of American’s foundation. Regrettably, this is the lowest number any President has ever placed on the refugee program since its creation in 1980.
This cap is the latest action in a massive legal upheaval to prevent immigrants from entering the country both legally and illegally. Not only is ICE fervently targeting homes and businesses for undocumented immigrants, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is also making it more difficult for applicants to seek naturalization. In fact, there have been cases of the USCIS alerting ICE whenever immigrants eligible for deportation arrive for their routine interviews.
However, according to Mike Pompeo, the Secretary of State, this act is intended to benefit the “800,000 refugees” who are still waiting to hear if they quality for legal protection. Mr. Pompeo defends, “This year’s refugee ceiling reflects the substantial increase in the number of individuals seeking asylum in our country, leading to a massive backlog of outstanding asylum cases and greater public expense.”
Mr. Pompeo is facing great public scrutiny for not only agreeing to this cap, but for doing so while confusing 320,00 asylees with the 730,000 undocumented immigrants who have been detained by ICE and are pleading for asylum. Comparatively, immigration authorities have full control as to whether the undocumented immigrants—who are not considered asylees under the law—can remain in the United States. Sadly, a great majority of these people will likely be deported.
Nazanin Ash, the vice president for policy and advocacy at the International Rescue Committee, is intentionally accusing the Trump Administration of pitting asylum-seekers against refugees. She states, “The administration has the resources it needs to effectively administer both programs, as historic admissions levels prove.”
The Trump Administration’s crippling of the U.S. refugee program is just another example of how the government is encouraging America’s great political divide. By promoting a fear-based and xenophobic mentality, we are being pushed further away from the progressive ideals that built our nation.
Seek Legal Representation
If you’re seeking asylum or have concerns about your immigration status, contact the Cleveland immigration attorneys at Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. We represent the rights and interests of refugees, undocumented immigrants, and naturalized citizens.
Contact Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. at (888) 491-8770 to schedule a consultation.