Humanitarian aid officials and other Christian leaders are criticizing Trump’s announcement that the United States will only allow 45,000 refugees to resettle into the country in the next fiscal year.
The 2018 fiscal year starts Oct. 1.
“America has big blessings from God, and we should give big blessings to refugees in need,” Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said in a statement. “We can’t take all but we should be a lead nation on doing our share.”
Barack Obama’s administration set the cap for fiscal year 2017 at 110,000 refugees.
The Trump administration’s new limit is the lowest set by any White House since the Refugee Act was passed in 1980. However, there have been years when less than 45,000 refugees resettled in the U.S., such as in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.
“[I]t seems we are shutting the door on the Statue of Liberty,” said Bishop Michael Rinehart, chairman of the Board for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. “I pray that America does not lose its heart and soul.
For fiscal year 2017, World Relief, an evangelical resettlement agency, successfully asked the Obama administration to set the cap at 75,000 or greater.
Since then, the organization has had to close offices and lay off employees because of Trump’s cuts in refugee admissions.
“Such a severely limited refugee ceiling for FY18 will have ripple effects around the world and keep refugees who have nowhere to go in constant risk,” World Relief CEO Tim Breene said in a statement. “This will affect those desperately fleeing persecution and violence, women and children who have experienced unimaginable atrocity, and our allies who have supported our armed forces and foreign policy agenda.”