News & Resources

Press Release: IRAP Calls for Immediate Consultations and Robust Refugee Admissions in Coming Fiscal Year


September 30, 2020


Henrike Dessaules


(New York, NY) – In yesterday’s press briefing hosted by the Center for Community Media (CCM) at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York (CUNY), staff of the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) voiced concerns about the Trump Administration’s failure to conduct legally required consultations and set a robust refugee admissions goal for Fiscal Year 2021, which begins on October 1.

Each year, the President, in consultation with Congress, determines the number of refugees projected to be admitted in the coming year, in line with global needs and capacity. Historically, the United States has set a target of 95,000 refugees per year on average, but this year, the admissions goal was set for only 18,000 and just over 10,000 have arrived. Failure to set a robust Presidential Determination will grind the resettlement program to a halt and leave hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable refugees in prolonged, life-threatening danger, including persecuted religious minorities, LGBTI individuals, women and children at risk, and Iraqis who served with U.S. forces overseas. 

On the press call, IRAP’s Policy Director, Sunil Varghese, said: “The [U.S. Refugee Admissions] Program is virtually at a standstill, and now we are […] waiting and advocating for the President to fulfill his statutory requirement to consult with Congress to have a Presidential Determination, so refugee resettlement can continue.”

IRAP’s Casework Coordinator Ra’ed Almasri, who works with refugee clients in IRAP’s Jordan office, referenced multiple stories of clients in dire circumstances, who have no other option for durable solutions other than resettlement, such as an Iraqi family who had fled Iraq due to their work with the U.S. Army. Their case was first submitted in 2017 and has been pending a decision since 2018. This year, only 123 U.S. affiliated Iraqis were resettled, even though the U.S. government had set a quota of 4,000 individuals.

IRAP urges the Administration to follow the law immediately, consult with Congress on the number of refugees that should be admitted in FY2021, and set a robust refugee admissions target that will fulfill America’s humanitarian obligation to protect refugees in need. IRAP also vows to continue to find and protect pathways to safety for refugees and other displaced people in the United States and elsewhere.

Click here to watch a recording of the press briefing.

To view the press release, click here.