Press Statement by Michael Pompeo, Secretary of State
Washington DC, November 2, 2019
President Trump signed the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2020, following consultations with Congress conducted by the State Department, along with the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Health and Human Services. Our Departments will work closely to implement the President’s program, which provides for the resettlement of up to 18,000 refugees in the United States this fiscal year.
America’s support for refugees and other displaced people extends well beyond our immigration system. It includes diplomatic efforts around the world to find solutions to crises, like our support for the legitimate government in Venezuela against Maduro’s tyranny. Addressing the core problems that drive refugees away from their homes helps more people more rapidly than resettling them in the United States.
Our support for displaced people also takes the form humanitarian assistance, and in Fiscal Year 2019 the United States contributed nearly $9.3 billion to supporting crisis response globally, the largest contribution of any country in the world. Helping displaced people as close to their homes as possible better facilitates their eventual safe and voluntary return. Their efforts to rebuild their communities help restore affected areas to stability, which is always in America’s interest.
Refugee resettlement is only one aspect of U.S. humanitarian-based immigration efforts. Since 1980, America has welcomed almost 3.8 million refugees and asylees, and our country hosts hundreds of thousands of people under other humanitarian immigration categories. This year’s refugee resettlement program continues that legacy, with specific allocations for people who have suffered or fear persecution on the basis of religion; for Iraqis whose assistance to the United States has put them in danger; and for legitimate refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Indeed, the security and humanitarian crisis along our southern border has contributed to a burden on our immigration system that must be alleviated before we can again resettle large numbers of refugees. Therefore, prioritizing the cases of those already in our country is simply a matter of common sense. The diplomatic agreements the United States has reached with our Western Hemisphere neighbors to address illegal immigration and border security will allow us to refocus resources on reducing the current backlog of asylum cases that now encompasses more than an estimated one million individuals.
At the core of the Trump Administration’s foreign policy is a commitment to make decisions based on reality, not wishes, and to drive optimal outcomes based on concrete facts. This year’s determination on refugee admissions does just that, even as we sustain our longstanding commitment to help vulnerable populations and our leadership as the world’s most generous nation.