On Wednesday, the president notified Congress of his decision to limit the number of refugees who
will be resettled in the U.S. to 15,000 for the 2021 fiscal year. While the number of displaced people
worldwide has significantly increased in recent years, reaching nearly 80 million in 2019, the Trump
Administration has continued to reduce the U.S. Refuge Admissions program by over 80%. The
proposed ceiling is a record low and stark contrast from previous administrations’ proposals.
Tsehaye Teferra, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Ethiopian Community Development Council, Inc.
said: The current administration has turned the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, which dates to the
passage of the Refugee Act of 1980, from a lifesaving human rights program with bipartisan support
into a political weapon. President Trump has set historic low admissions ceiling each year in office,
and 2021 is no exception; 15,000 refugees barely scratches the surface of the global need for
resettlement and additional restrictions due to unnamed security concerns will further limit refugees’
ability to seek security, join family members already in the U.S., and find a new, permanent home.”
Despite the current administration’s affinity to portray refugees and immigrant as an economic and
cultural burden, as well as a national security threat, research clearly demonstrates that refugees and
immigrants contribute meaningfully within their communities. During the current COVID-19 health
crisis, refugees are serving on the frontlines as essential workers, with 176,000 working in health care
and 175,000 in the food supply chain. Similarly, over 40% of all Fortune 300 companies were founded
by refugees, immigrants, or their children.
The U.S. government must continue to lead the world in advancing humanitarian goals that promote
regional and global stability. To that end, ECDC calls on the Trump Administration to increase its
fiscal year 2021 refugee admissions ceiling from 15,000 to the historical average of 95,000.
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ECDC’s mission is to resettle refugees, promote cultural, educational, and socio-economic development
in the refugee and immigrant community in the United States, and to conduct humanitarian and
development programs in the Horn of Africa. For more information about ECDC, please visit us at