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Expiration Of Resettlement Suspension May Not Mean A Jump In Refugees

May Aye, a member of the Karen community in San Diego, has her face painted b...

Photo by Famo Musa, The AjA Project

Above: May Aye, a member of the Karen community in San Diego, has her face painted before performing a traditional Karen dance at the annual World Refugee Day event in Balboa Park on June 21, 2014.

Expiration Of Resettlement Suspension May Not Mean A Jump In Refugees


Tarryn Mento, City Heights reporter, KPBS


There may be little change to the flow of refugees after the sun sets on President Donald Trump's temporary suspension of the resettlement system. An executive order halted the program for 120 days to allow for a review of vetting measures.

That directive is due to lift Tuesday. At that time, resettlement may resume provided that the heads of relevant government agencies feel any additional safety procedures implemented after the suspension are adequate, a U.S. State Department official said.

It is unclear how this would affect San Diego, which has been a leader in refugee arrivals. A county official referred questions to local resettlement agencies but said the department has not received information regarding the ban's expiration from state or federal offices that oversee resettlement.

The flow of refugees slowed significantly earlier this year, when the suspension was first implemented. Other provisions of the order, which underwent multiple revisions following legal challenges, also barred entrance from several predominantly Muslim countries. The measure was to be discussed before the U.S. Supreme Court this month, but the hearing was cancelled after Trump introduced another revised travel ban, which has now also been tied up in the judicial system.

Additionally, the Trump Administration reduced last year's ceiling on refugees to 50,000. Former President Barack Obama had wanted that limit to be 110,000.

The combined events reduced the flow of refugees in San Diego to a trickle, said Robert Moser, executive director of Catholic Charities Diocese of San Diego, a local resettlement agency.

"It’s quiet as a result of the travel ban and federal policies regarding admissions. It’s not normally quiet this particular time," Moser told KPBS in September.

This month, which marked the beginning of fiscal year 2018, Trump further reduced the number of refugees allowed in the country to 45,000. The figure marked a record low. However, the country has not always reached the cap. After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. accepted fewer than half of that year's allowable maximum of 70,000 refugees.

The Trump Administration is reportedly considering additional restrictions on the family members of refugees already resettled in the U.S., according to Reuters. The news agency cited unnamed sources in its report.

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