the WHITE HOUSEPresident Donald J. Trump

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

President Donald J. Trump is Taking a Responsible and Humanitarian Approach on Refugees

“Maintaining strong borders is a vital component of any security policy, and a responsible approach to refugees is one that seeks the eventual return of refugees to their home countries so that they can help to rebuild their own nations.” - President Donald J. Trump

AMERICA FIRST REFUGEE PROGRAM: President Donald J. Trump has established the annual cap for refugees coming into the United States at a level that upholds the safety of the American people.

  • President Trump has determined that up to 45,000 refugees may be admitted into the United States in Fiscal Year 2018.
    • This decision, which is made annually, is determined after consulting with the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the national security team.
    • With this new ceiling, the United States will continue to permanently resettle more refugees than any other country and we will continue to offer protection to the most vulnerable, including those who have been persecuted because of race, political opinion, nationality, religion, or membership in a particular social group.
  • The new ceiling is designed to accommodate additional vetting procedures now under review that will enable the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the National Counter Terrorism Center, and other agencies to thoroughly and safely process applicants for potential threats to public safety and national security.
    • The decision reflects the need to concentrate limited resources on the approximately 270,000 aliens who have applied for asylum but have not been properly vetted, and are already present in the United States.
  • Pursuant to section 6 of Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” the United States Government is taking additional steps to enhance the screening of individuals seeking admission as refugees in order to improve the safety and security of the United States. Although the review required by section 6 of Executive Order 13780 is still underway, relevant agencies have already started strengthening the vetting process used in the Refugee Admissions Program.

STRENGTHENING NATIONAL SECURITY: President Donald J. Trump is taking the responsible approach to promote the safety of the American people.

  • Some refugees who have been admitted to the United States have posed threats to national security and public safety.
  • As of February 2017, more than 300 individuals who were initially admitted to the United States as refugees were under FBI investigation for potential ties to suspected terrorists.
    • Since 2011, there have been at least 20 admitted refugees who have been arrested or removed from the United States based on terrorism investigations.
    • In 2016, a Somali refugee attacked 11 Americans at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, approximately two dozen individuals who had been admitted to the United States as refugees have been removed or arrested and convicted of terrorism-related offenses. In February, the President met with local sheriffs at the White House to hear their concerns, including those about refugees who were resettled in their communities without local input.
    • President Trump believes in enhancing existing efforts to work closely with State and local leaders to help build community trust in refugee resettlement efforts while also determining the best placement of resettled refugees in the United States.

FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS: Increasing refugee resettlement increases financial strain on Americans, when the best policy is to keep refugees in their region of origin whenever possible.

  • One primary goal of United States refugee policy is to enable refugees to ultimately return home, where they can be reunited with friends and family and help rebuild their communities.
  • For the cost of permanently resettling one refugee in the United States, the Government could resettle 12 refugees in safe zones overseas, closer to their home countries, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spent more than $96 billion on programs supporting or benefitting refugees between 2005 and 2014.
  • HHS surveys from the Obama Administration show that 45% of refugees arriving between 2011 and 2015 were receiving cash assistance, 49% were receiving Medicaid, and that nearly 75% were receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
  • Under current law, once a person is admitted to the United States as a refugee, he or she is immediately authorized to work in the United States.

WORLD LEADER IN HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS: America continues to lead the way in worldwide refugee efforts, both in financial contributions and resettlement.

  • As stated in the G20 Leaders’ Declaration, “we commit to addressing the distinct needs of refugees and migrants, in particular close to their region of origin and, when applicable, to enable them to return home safely.”
  • The United States is the number one contributor to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, giving some $1.2 billion this year. And we continue to be the leading donor to other agencies that provide life-saving support to refugees and conflict victims, including the World Food Program, the Red Cross Movement and UNICEF.
  • Since 1975, the United States has welcomed more than 3 million refugees from all over the world, and each year typically admits nearly two-thirds of the world’s refugees that are resettled in a third country, more than all other countries combined.
    • Every year, the United States provides more than one million immigrants from more than 150 countries with permanent residency and grants citizenship to half of one million individuals.
    • The primary objective of the United States refugee policy is to help protect refugees and help support durable solutions for refugees, including by safely returning them home.