The Trump administration is considering a new policy that would allow states and cities the option to deny entry to refugees approved for resettlement, according to a draft of an executive order obtained by NBC News.
According to the draft, if the local government does not want to take in refugees, the federal government will have to find somewhere else for them to go.
“The federal government will resettle refugees only where the relevant state and local governments have consented to participate,” the draft reads, according to NBC News.
The only exception to this possible new policy would be for spouses or children of already settled refugees.
NBC News reported that refugee rights organizations have previously advocated for this exception to be made “to create a sense of community for those fleeing violence and persecution.”
Peter Boogaard, a former Department of Homeland Security official under President Barack Obama, told NBC News that the new executive order would “have a dramatic impact on the ability of future administrations to return refugee admissions to the normal historic levels.”
NEW: Trump admin. is considering a new policy that would allow state and local jurisdictions to deny entry to refugees who have been approved for resettlement in the US, according to a draft of an executive order obtained by @NBCNews. https://t.co/XYA0UwXLtQ – @JuliaEAinsley
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 21, 2019
This executive order is being considered as the administration is also thinking about cutting refugee admissions into the United States.
Based on the State Department’s recommendation last year, the Trump administration cut the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. from 45,000 to 30,000 in fiscal year 2019.
Homeland Security Department officials at the July meeting suggested the number of refugees allowed in the U.S. should be between 3,000 to 10,000.
A source told Politico that a member of the State Department, Andrew Veprek, along with John Zadrozny, a USCIS official, argued, “the refugee cap should be low because of ongoing security concerns and the ability of the U.S. to offer humanitarian protections through the asylum process.”
Jen Smyers, a director with resettlement agency Church World Service, said cutting the number of refugees could potentially hurt the resettlement process in the future.
Due to the amount of time it takes to process the request by the refugee, critics of the plan argue that dropping the number to zero could backlog the system for years.
“In the long-term, it would mean that the capacity and the ability of the United States to resettle refugees would be completely decimated,” Smyers said.
The Trump administration has until September to decide how many refugees will be allowed into the U.S. and from where they will be coming.
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