Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly put the “failed immigration policies” of the Obama administration in the spotlight. Candidate Trump hammered what he described as Obama’s dangerous, ideologically driven approach to admitting immigrants and refugees. When he took office, Trump announced that drastic changes were coming, including a dramatic reduction in the number of refugees, and he is following through.
In a January report on the controversies surrounding the federal refugee resettlement program, Center for Immigration Studies fellow Don Barnett provided an eye-opening comparison between Obama’s refugee quotas and Trump’s: Trump has reduced Obama’s 2017 high of 110,000 by 60% to just 45,000. But now, Barnett estimates that number will be slashed almost in half.
At a Tuesday conference highlighted by the Washington Examiner, Barnett said he believes Trump will drop his refugee quota far below 45,000. “I personally think it will come in at half that. I think it will come in at 25,000 or so,” he said. “It’s not going to come anywhere near 45,000.”
While Obama’s high reached 110,000 in his final year in office, he averaged 75,000 per year. Trump’s 45,000 quota is a 40% reduction of that average; a 25,000 per year quota would be a 67% reduction of the Obama-era average.
In his analysis of the refugee resettlement program published in January, Barnett highlights the tensions between the states and the federal government caused by the program, which effectively forces states to foot some of the bill for resettling refugees, particularly welfare costs, without allowing them much say in the process. The piece was prompted in part by Tennessee suing the federal government over the issue in March 2017.