September 12, 2018
For more than a century, the Statue of Liberty has greeted immigrants and been embraced as a symbol of hope for those seeking to make a better life in America.
The words on the plaque at the statue’s base has almost become a national credo. They read, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
But those words have developed a hollow ring in the recent years.
Tens of thousands of refugees fleeing life-threatening situations and who are seeking to resettle in the United States are being thwarted in their efforts. They are facing innumerable bureaucratic roadblocks created by an administration intent on living up to a campaign promise to limit immigration, including refugees.
In the last two years, the number of refugees coming into the United States has plummeted to the lowest point in nearly 40 years.
The ceiling on the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the U.S. has gone from a high of 140,000 during President Ronald Reagan’s administration to just 45,000 under President Donald Trump.
During the last year of the President Barack Obama’s administration the ceiling of refugees allowed into the country was 110,000.
This shift in administration policy is slowly dismantling a humanitarian program that has brought more than 3 million people to the United States over half a century. Although the ceiling on refugees allowed into the country was set at 45,000 for the current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30, only 19,890 refugees had been allowed into the country as of earlier this month.
Fewer than 1,500 have come to Texas in the last year, according to the State Department.
San Antonio saw the arrival of 1,260 refugees in 2017. This fiscal year, there have been only 440 refugees resettled in Bexar County, the Express-News reported recently.
The changes under the Trump administration have been made quietly without much public fanfare or congressional involvement. There have been shifts in funding and increased security-check requirements for applicants.
Most alarming there has been an increased reliance on reports that misstate the threat posed by people born outside the U.S. while fact-based assessments indicating refugees pose little to no threat have been rejected.
More specifically, in the last two years many of the officers who were hired to interview refugees have been reassigned to the Southern border to interview asylum seekers. Many applicants are having to have additional background checks known as a Security Advisory Opinion in addition to the extensive multiagency screening all applicants must undergo. And many government agencies are being burdened with duplicative procedures that only serve to slow down the process further.
The Trump administration must decide by the end of the month how many refugees it will allow into the country in the next fiscal year.
For more information, go to: www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com