The Trump administration’s decision to further limit the number of refugees who can apply for asylum in the United States will not only have dire human costs in terms of refugees forced to remain in dangerous situations — it will also hurt America in multiple ways, argues Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, in an op-ed for Fox News. The consequences include not just damage to America’s moral standing in the world, but economic, political, and legal impacts as well.
- The administration is reportedly looking to limit the number of refugee admissions in the 2020 fiscal year to just 15,000, down from a ceiling of 45,000 in 2018 and 70,000 in 2003. Anyone who doubts the administration’s seriousness in cracking down on refugees applying for asylum need only look to last week’s defenestration of John Lafferty, the head of the USCIS asylum office.
- The crackdown is transparently irrational, according to Noorani, who notes that, among other measures, the administration is seeking to make it harder for asylum-seekers to work — thus increasing the economic burden on U.S. taxpayers and decreasing the chances of refugees’ long-term integration to society… all amid the tightest labor market in living memory.
- Money shot: “It’s bad policy. It’s morally bankrupt. It runs counter to the country we should continue to be. It also runs counter to United Nations tenets of asylum…” (Not that an appeal to UN rules is likely to move the current administration).
- Noorani also notes that limiting refugee admissions from Central America will result in would-be asylum seekers piling up in the border towns of northern Mexico, already one of the most dangerous places in the world. Add large numbers of destitute Central Americans to the mix and it is hard to see anything good happening, in terms of human trafficking, drug smuggling, or social stability in America’s biggest neighbor.
- Noorani’s suggestion: “Instead of punishing people from Northern Triangle countries, we could partner with their governments to prevent human smuggling operations and provide critically needed aid and investment to spur economic growth and create new jobs — so people find opportunity in the place they call home.”