Washington, D.C. – Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) met with Department of State Secretary Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke regarding the Trump Administration’s refugee ceiling for Fiscal Year 2018. Chairman Goodlatte and Subcommittee Chairman Labrador issued the statements below on today’s meeting and the Trump Administration’s plans to set the refugee ceiling at 45,000 for the coming year.
Chairman Goodlatte: “For generations, the United States has been a safe haven for those around the world fleeing persecution in their home countries. The Trump Administration’s refugee ceiling for the coming year maintains our nation’s generosity toward those in need, and importantly, ensures limited resources are used wisely and our citizens are protected in light of ongoing terrorist threats. Administration officials have indicated that many immigration officers processing refugee applications have been diverted to handle the large asylum backlog that occurred under the Obama Administration. The Trump Administration is acting responsibly to continue both of these humanitarian programs by reducing the asylum backlog and also committing itself to resettle tens of thousands of refugees in the United States.
“While I welcome the Trump Administration’s plans for refugee resettlement for the coming year, it is imperative that Congress reform our nation’s refugee program by passing the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act. This bill provides tools to curb fraud, strengthen national security, and enhance public safety. I urge the House and Senate to take up this bill and send it to the President’s desk so that our nation’s generosity toward refugees continues and bad actors are prevented from gaming the system.”
Subcommittee Chairman Labrador: “I welcome the Trump Administration’s decision to reduce the annual refugee ceiling to a more manageable level. While the Obama Administration increased the refugee ceiling at a time when security threats from abroad were growing, President Trump is exercising smart leadership by putting the safety of the American people first. America has a proud tradition of helping refugees who, through no fault of their own, are fleeing war and persecution and wish to become contributing members of our society. However, there are already documented cases of terrorists infiltrating the refugee program, and ISIS is vowing to exploit it further. Reforming America’s refugee program is a critical issue, and the time for action is now. I have introduced legislation, the Refugee Program Integrity Act, which enhances refugee screening, curbs fraud, and gives states and communities a voice in refugee settlement decisions. The House Judiciary Committee approved by bill in June and I am hopeful it will get a floor vote soon.”
Background: In June, the House Judiciary Committee approved the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act (H.R. 2826). This bill, authored by Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Raúl Labrador and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, reforms the refugee program by curbing fraud and strengthening public safety and national security. It also provides state and local governments the power to decide if refugees are to be resettled within their communities and gives Congress, not the President, the authority to set the overall refugee ceiling for each year. A summary of the bill can be found here.