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Westchester Advocacy Group Slams Trump's New Low 'Cap' On Refugees Allowed Into US

Hearts and Homes for Refugees held a furniture drive to help area refugees.
Hearts and Homes for Refugees held a furniture drive to help area refugees. Photo Credit: File

President Trump's plan to lower the cap on the number of refugees allowed into America is drawing fire from area groups who assist people seeking asylum in the United States.

On Monday, the Trump Administration announced a plan to cap the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. from 45,000 to 30,000 in fiscal year 2019.

Kathie O'Callaghan, who works with Hearts and Homes for Refugees, a non-profit organization based in Pelham, says everyone involved in the organization is concerned. The group helps resettle refugees in Westchester.

"Our organization and the people involved are very concerned that we are closing our doors and turning our back on refugees," O'Callaghan said.

Members of Hearts and Homes for Refugees are writing letters to Congress urging the cap to be raised.

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, a Democrat who represents Rockland and Westchester counties, also criticized Trump's new record-low cap on how many refugees are allowed into the United States, as reported here by Daily Voice.

The congresswoman from Harrison pointed out that the Trump Administration has admitted about 21,000 refugees into the U.S. this year, well below the current annual cap of 45,000.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the new cap on incoming refugees on Monday, Sept. 17. It's the second year in a row the administration has set the cap at a record low.

Pompeo said the number should not be considered as "the sole barometer" of the United States' commitment to humanitarian efforts around the world, adding that the U.S. would "focus on the humanitarian protection cases of those already in the country."

As evidence, Pompeo cited the number of asylum applications expected next year, saying the U.S. will process up to 280,000 such applications in 2019.

In a statement, Lowey said, “I am deeply disturbed by the Administration’s decision to set the Fiscal Year 2019 refugee cap at 30,000, the lowest level since the U.S. refugee resettlement program began in 1980."

"With the world facing the worst refugee crisis since WWII, the Administration’s abdication of U.S. moral principles and international leadership will almost certainly lead to the loss of innocent lives," Lowey said.

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