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Monday, October 26, 2020
CNS Again Cheers Low Refugee Caps Under Trump

Earliler this year, we documented how reporter Patrick Goodenough spent years obsessed that the U.S. was letting in too many Muslim refugees and not enough Christian ones, and he was extremely happy that President Trump not only cut down on the number of Muslim refugees but sharply reduced the number of all refugees. Well, Goodenough is back on the refugee beat, again apparently happy that Trump is keeping refugee numbers low.

Goodenough cheered in a Sept. 22 article that "With fewer than ten days of the fiscal year to go, the Trump administration has admitted just 10,233 refugees into the United States since October 1 last year – 56.8 percent of the record-low cap of 18,000 admissions in FY 2020, which it set last fall." Then he fearmongered about the Democratic candidate for president:

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, however, has pledged if elected to set a cap of 125,000 refugees a year, with the aim to raise it further “over time commensurate with our responsibility, our values, and the unprecedented global need.”

Biden’s promised ceiling would be the highest since 1993, when a cap of 142,000 was established (although actual admissions that year were somewhat lower, just below 120,000).

The highest ceiling on refugee admissions fixed during the Obama-Biden administration was 85,000, in 2016, while under President George W. Bush the annual caps ranged between 70,000 and 80,000, and under President Clinton between 78,000 and 142,000.

Goodenough didn't explain why any of this was a bad thing. He did, however, return to his religious refugee body counts, noting that "Refugees identifying as Christians comprise 73.6 percent of FY 2020 total" and that "Refugees identifying as Muslims account for 22.5 percent of the total, comprising large majorities among the groups of refugees from Syria, Sudan, Somalia, and Afghanistan."

Goodenough followed up on Oct. 1, pronouncing that "Fiscal year 2020 ended overnight with the smallest number of refugees resettled in the United States in more than 40 years, and the Trump administration setting a cap on 15,000 refugee admissions for fiscal year 2021," making sure to add that "Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pushed back at a reporter’s question on about whether the U.S. was doing enough to ease the global refugee crisis" by claoming that "There’s no more generous nation anywhere in the world when it comes to alleviating human crises around the world."

Goodenough was in full defense mode the next day as he gave the Trump State Department the floor to defend its record-low refugee cap:

Amid criticism over the Trump administration’s move to set a new record-low limit of 15,000 refugee admissions in fiscal year 2021 – reducing the annual ceiling for the fifth consecutive time – the State Department said Thursday the proposal reflected a “continuing commitment to prioritize the safety and well-being of Americans, especially in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

It also took into account a massive backlog of asylum-seeker cases, it said, referring to more than 1.1 million people already inside the U.S. whose applications for asylum are pending (as opposed to applicants for refugee status, who apply outside the country for resettlement through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.)

The department said in its announcement it expected “more than 290,000” new asylum claims to be received during FY 2021, which began on Thursday.

It also contended that the number of refugees resettled should not be seen in isolation from broader U.S. humanitarian-based immigration activity.

Goodenough did concede the low cap is being "heavily-criticized." Not by him, of course.

Posted by Terry K. at 5:39 PM EDT

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