Greetings Friends of Refugee Resettlement,
In today’s newsletter… latest news on the fate of the White House’s Executive Order and the U.S. refugee program (this is good news!), CFC refugee arrival projections revised and advocacy updates.
The White House’s second Executive Order relating to refugees issued earlier this month and scheduled to go into effect March 16th was blocked by an eleventh hour ruling from a federal judge in Hawaii. The judge issued a temporary restraining order on implementation of both the six nation travel ban (section 2 of the EO) and the refugee admissions halt and reduction of the refugee admissions ceiling (section 6 of the EO). For a more detailed report on the court-ordered block of the EO, check out this article from the New York Times.
In regards to next moves by the White House – this is not easy to predict but given the actions that are being undertaken by the U.S. refugee government official described in the section, below, it may be that the Administration is settling in for a more protracted legal battle that could end up in the Supreme Court.
Another element to consider that will impact refugee admissions is the Continuing Resolution or CR. The funding to support the US refugee program and all other federal programs is currently provided under the CR which approves funding levels for most federal programs at fiscal year 2016 levels. The CR will expire on April 28th 2017, so between now and then Congress has to pass another appropriations bill to maintain federal programs. In the absence of that appropriation, the government shuts down. The new appropriations bill may be another CR extending funding through end of the fiscal year at current levels (good outcome) or they may pass another appropriations bill that reduces or increases funding for certain federal programs. Whatever is passed by Congress must also be approved by the President, so this represents another way that the White House and Congress could potentially curtail refugee admissions.
On March 21, our national office informed us of some promising actions being undertaken by the U.S. refugee program (Department of State) in light of the federal judge’s block of the Executive Order. A brief summary of those actions:
Immediate resumption of refugees being booked for flight to the U.S. through April 28th. As the block remains in effect and assuming available funding from Congress, we are projecting that refugees will continue to be booked for flight past that date.
Dept. of State has instructed overseas refugee processing agencies to resume all processing activities including security checks and re-requests, medicals and assurances. This a very positive sign that will help ensure that refugees may continue to gain approval for entry to the U.S.
Dept. of State has set a national admission goal of 900 refugees per week at least through April 28th. This reflects that the government is no longer assuming that refugee admission in FY 2017 will be limited to 50,000.
The above is all very good news for refugees and the fact that overseas processing is resuming is particularly promising. In light of those steps, we are revising our arrival numbers and projecting the following refugee resettlement numbers for CFC and Rochester (including SIV cases but excluding Cuban entrants):
Actual refugee arrivals Oct 1, 2016 through Mar. 20, 2017…..…......………….421
Projected refugee arrivals Mar 20, 2017 through September 30, 2017 ……….220
Projected refugees Oct. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2017………………..………126
We’re very happy to again be expecting new refugee arrivals, but remain disheartened that refugee admission numbers for this year are still so much less than what we anticipated and not near to reflecting a proportionate response to the worldwide refugee crisis. The above good news represents a victory but the larger struggle remains before us so Please Stay with Us! We anticipate the next battle to be around funding for the refugee program for the remainder of the fiscal year after the CR expires and will send some action items along that front in the coming weeks.
As always, thank you for your continued support!