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house Bill H.R. 2146

Should the U.S. Raise the Refugee Admissions Cap to 95k Per Year?

Argument in favor

The Trump administration’s historically low target of resettling 30,000 refugees into the U.S. in FY2019 harms refugees and cedes America’s traditional leadership role in refugee resettlement to other nations. By ensuring presidents can’t set refugee ceilings below the historic average of 95,000 each year, this bill would ensure that both Trump and future presidents can’t harm refugees through a too-low annual ceiling.

Kodiwodi's Opinion
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05/11/2019
Quit buying into trump’s hatred and bigotry fairytales. Of What are all of you afraid? Increasing the numbers will speed up reuniting families and make it easier for folks to become citizens and be productive. This country is far from full. We need new citizens to replace our aging generations and bring innovation and diversity to this country. As it is we have both a declining longevity and birth rate. We are unsustainable as a population. More money should be invested in our future and these people are part of that. The more and sooner we welcome them, the better off this country will be.
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05/11/2019
We should include an upgrade to the process system, more judges and personnel needed to expedite the process. Let’s make America humane again.
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burrkitty's Opinion
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05/11/2019
95000 is the historical average? I wonder where that number came from? Anyway, sure. Less than 2000 people per state per year? Even without even distribution, we can do that, even double or triple that. Plenty of room. Set it at a quarter million to start and we will see.
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Argument opposed

The Trump administration’s low ceiling for refugee resettlement in FY 2019 reflects a few realities: there’s an ongoing, massive influx of asylum applications coming from Central America; national security interests need to be balanced against the desire to help refugees by admitting them into the U.S.; and it’s expensive to process asylum and refugee claims.

Mark's Opinion
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05/11/2019
The left says all the illegals pouring in from Latin America are refugees. In the last 30 days we have taken in nearly 336,000 refugees. So NO we are not raising the cap. In fact it should be lowered to zero.
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Jordyn's Opinion
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05/11/2019
How about we take care of our OWN people like veterans, homeless, people living in poverty before we take more people in. Not to mention, there is an influx of border hoppers coming in already. We need to fix our own issues, NOT grant more people entry.
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TexasTRex's Opinion
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05/11/2019
I don’t think that is a good idea right now. We’ve got a crisis at our southern border with a huge influx of illegals. Adding more people that we need to be responsible for (which also comes along with the risk of terrorists slipping in increasing instability) seems careless to our own people. Compassion is great as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of our own. We need to get some holes plugged first before opening up more.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedApril 9th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 2146?

This bill — the Guaranteed Refugee Admission Ceiling Enhancement (GRACE) Act — would prevent presidents from setting a Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions at a level below 95,000 in a given fiscal year (the FY 2019 ceiling, set in September 2018, is currently 30,000). This bill would also ensure that each officer responsible for refugee admissions or settlement treats the Presidential Determination as a goal, and would mandate quarterly reports to Congress on refugees.

Impact

Refugees; refugee admissions; the president; and Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2146

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Chairperson of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, introduced this bill to protect refugees:

“The Grace Act is an important step in countering the Trump administration’s gutting of refugee resettlement. This bill draws a line in favor of refugee protection and addresses this Administration’s indifference to their plight. President Trump’s attack on refugees and dismantling of American values must stop.”

Senate sponsor Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) adds:

“The United States of America was founded by refugees, and we should not close our borders, our shores, or our hearts to those seeking safety and a better life. President Trump’s decision to slash refugee admissions has been a drastic departure from our longstanding commitment to vulnerable people around the world, and our understanding that the United States must be a leader in resettlement efforts. The GRACE Act will reestablish our moral authority around the world and ensure that we do not forsake those most in need of our assistance.”

Amnesty International supports this bill and its Refugee Specialist, Ryan Mace, says:

“We face a global crisis with people displaced in every region of the world - from those who fled their homes today, to those born a refugee. We need real solutions that actually meet this crisis head on and treat refugees like the human beings they are, with human rights. The GRACE Act is a vital step towards restoring the United States’ commitment to the vital, and far underutilized, protection of resettlement to those who need it most.”

Human Rights First, which supports this bill, argues that increased refugee admissions would “help support developing, front-line countries and advance U.S. national security interests.” It notes that “[f]ormer CIA directors, national security advisers, and secretaries of defense, state, and homeland security have explained that resettling refugees advances U.S. national security interests.”

The Trump administration says its current cap of 30,000 refugees for FY 2019 is in response to the overwhelming number of asylum seekers arriving at the southern border. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says, “This year’s refugee ceiling reflects the substantial increase in the number of individuals seeking asylum in our country, contributing to a massive backlog of outstanding asylum cases and greater public expense.” Pompeo adds that the administration’s lowering of the refugee ceiling also reflects the need to balance refugees’ needs with U.S. security interests:

“This year’s refugee ceiling reflects our commitment to protect the most vulnerable around the world while prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of the American people as President Trump has directed. We must continue to responsibly vet applicants to prevent those who might do harm to our country.”

This bill has 11 Democratic House cosponsors. A Senate companion bill, sponsored by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) with the support of 12 Democratic Senate cosponsors, has also been introduced.

This bill has the support of the Executive Board of Refugee Council USA (RCUSA), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Church World Service, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Amnesty International, HIAS, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Human Rights First, World Relief, Oxfam, Episcopal Migration Ministries, Center for Victims of Torture, CODEPINK, Franciscan Action Network, Disciples Refugee & Immigration Ministries, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, Brooklyn For Peace, North Carolina Justice Center, and STAND, the Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities.


Of NoteAs of March 31, 2019 — six months into FY 2019 — State Dept. figures showed that 12,151 refugees had arrived in the U.S. by that point in the fiscal year. If that rate remains constant through FY 2019, the total number of refugees admitted into the U.S. will be 19% below the 30,000 ceiling set by President Trump in September 2018. However, refugee groups say, this isn’t because people no longer want to come to the U.S. as refugees — instead, it’s because far fewer people have been able to gain admission under the Trump administration.

Until the current administration, both Democratic and Republican administrations championed the refugee resettlement program. Now, for the first time in over 30 years, the U.S. is no longer the world leader in resettling refugees — instead, Canada has taken that position. Looking at America’s refugee resettlement rate per capita, the comparison is even worse: at three refugees per 1,000 citizens, the U.S. has one of the lowest per capita resettlement rates in the world.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there were 19.6 million refugees worldwide in 2017 — up from 9.9 million in 2012. In 2017, children under 18 years old represented 52% of the refugee population. Syria (6.3 million), Afghanistan (2.6 million), South Sudan (2.4 million), Myanmar (1.2 million), and Somalia (986,400) were the top five countries of origin for refugees in 2017.

Every year, the president, in consultation with Congress, determines the numerical ceiling for refugee admissions each year. The State Dept. and Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) are the primary agencies responsible for assessing the viability of different refugee populations for admission, as well as U.S. government officials’ ability to process them. Historically, the average number of refugees allowed into the U.S. each fiscal year has been around 95,000. However, the Trump administration has set much lower numbers: when President Trump took office in January 2017, he lowered the FY 2017 refugee admissions ceiling from 110,000 (set under the Obama administration) to 50,000. In FY 2018, the Trump administration set the ceiling at 45,000; it again lowered the ceiling, this time to 30,000, for FY 2019.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / MarioGuti)

AKA

GRACE Act

Official Title

To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to require the President to set a minimum annual goal for the number of refugees to be admitted, and for other purposes.

    Quit buying into trump’s hatred and bigotry fairytales. Of What are all of you afraid? Increasing the numbers will speed up reuniting families and make it easier for folks to become citizens and be productive. This country is far from full. We need new citizens to replace our aging generations and bring innovation and diversity to this country. As it is we have both a declining longevity and birth rate. We are unsustainable as a population. More money should be invested in our future and these people are part of that. The more and sooner we welcome them, the better off this country will be.
    Like (123)
    Follow
    Share
    The left says all the illegals pouring in from Latin America are refugees. In the last 30 days we have taken in nearly 336,000 refugees. So NO we are not raising the cap. In fact it should be lowered to zero.
    Like (82)
    Follow
    Share
    How about we take care of our OWN people like veterans, homeless, people living in poverty before we take more people in. Not to mention, there is an influx of border hoppers coming in already. We need to fix our own issues, NOT grant more people entry.
    Like (59)
    Follow
    Share
    I don’t think that is a good idea right now. We’ve got a crisis at our southern border with a huge influx of illegals. Adding more people that we need to be responsible for (which also comes along with the risk of terrorists slipping in increasing instability) seems careless to our own people. Compassion is great as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of our own. We need to get some holes plugged first before opening up more.
    Like (52)
    Follow
    Share
    We should include an upgrade to the process system, more judges and personnel needed to expedite the process. Let’s make America humane again.
    Like (48)
    Follow
    Share
    95000 is the historical average? I wonder where that number came from? Anyway, sure. Less than 2000 people per state per year? Even without even distribution, we can do that, even double or triple that. Plenty of room. Set it at a quarter million to start and we will see.
    Like (41)
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    Share
    With all due respect to Sen. E. Marky (D-Ma), this is not about changing American values, but rather facing the reality of the situation. No one can criticize the US in their efforts supporting refugees; it has been outstanding. Unfortunately, due to the current extreme influx, both legitimate or not, the US needs to adjust to the circumstances, i.e., ability to process, cost, and assimilation, to mention a few. And let's not forget about our priority, which is to our own people.
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    We as a country can’t take care of our own homeless population, veterans, single families. Why in the world do we need to increase the cap of immigrants we accept in? All illegal immigration needs to stop, it needs a three step process, to include more personal, a physical barrier, and technology. Legal immigration needs to be halted for a short period, for a least several years. We need to fix our own countries problems before we try fixing the worlds problems.
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    I agree with the GRACE act to set the number of refugees the USA takes at 95,000 or higher. This is in keeping with being s good citizen as a nation. With proper support for refugees and immigrants- it can be very positive for our nation. I urge you to support the GRACE act in the House and it’s companion bill in the Senate.
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    Having a cap enables the US to allocate resources based on known admissions. It makes sense, although I’m not sure what the cap should be. 95,000 is a starting point, three times the Trump administration’s cap. The U S has a lower per capita rate of immigration than other countries. Rather than having a president screaming “but the caravans” why not have a cap that has bipartisan support and resources allocated to keep people out of cages?
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    Without proper vetting no, with the democrats on charge it would be a waste of the two faced bastards. By that they are saying no one is above the law not even the president and they are not doing anything about the border or the illegals. It’s time for them to go.
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    If we are footing the bill, then it needs to be set as we have the money to support this . Right now, it should be zero. Claiming to be a refugee is circumventing natural immigration. Usually when one needs refuge, they go to the closest safe country, not half way around the world. We shouldn’t be supporting this.
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    Too many already
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    We have too many ILLEGALS running lose in America right now; we need to get control of our borders & those ILLEGALS before we even think about adding more people! Please stop the insanity now!!!!
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    This bill isn’t about immigration. It’s political, anti-Trump nonsense. Congress (the house specifically) is a disgrace.
    Like (14)
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    No way! This is a shameful and pathetic attempt by the democrat party to do an end run around the constitution. The chief executive, i.e., Donald J. Trump (thank God), is the one with the authority on this issue. This is an attack on our sovereignty by flooding the country with foreign nationals to the detriment of American citizens. Our duty is to our people alone, not the rest of the world. They have no right to come here. They are responsible for their own problems and must fix them on their own. Cut the cap to 5,000 or less!
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    AKA shooting our selves in the foot. No.
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    We need to take care of veterans and the homeless first.
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    We only have a crisis at the southern border because of the Trump Administration’s handling of refugees and asylum seekers. The 94,000 minimum is conservative and consistent with our stated national values. I think it should be higher and would prefer no cap at all. THAT would be true to our ideals as a nation.
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    I wish democrats cared about Americans as much as they care for foreigners. Truth is they don’t give a crap about either. They have no agenda for the American people so they want to give away our resources to foreigners to increase their voter base.
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