At the outset of the current fiscal year, the administration announced that it would cut refugee admissions to no more than 18,000, the lowest cap since passage of the Refugee Act of 1980.
However, it’s likely that far fewer than that number of refugees will have been resettled in the U.S. when the fiscal year ends on September 30, 2020.
From October 1, 2019 through May 30, 2020, only 7,544 refugees had been resettled in the U.S. – with only four months remaining in the fiscal year. In contrast, the U.S. resettled nearly 85,000 refugees in FY 2016.
In Maine, only 26 refugees have arrived for resettlement so far in FY 2020, and with COVID-19 restrictions, that number is unlikely to go up significantly by the fiscal year’s end. In FY 2016, over 600 refugees were resettled in Maine.
UNHCR reports that 134 countries that host refugees waiting for resettlement have been hit by the pandemic, and refugees are at high risk due to their limited access to health care, clean water, and sanitation systems. Unfortunately, refugees will not be able to count on the U.S. for safe haven.