U.S. Members of Congress Respond to Historic Low Refugee Admissions Goal


Last Updated on February 2, 2021.


Members of Congress respond to the Trump administration’s announcement on September 17, 2018, to set a historic low cap of 30,000 refugee admissions for Fiscal Year 2019, amidst the world’s largest displacement crisis in recorded history.



Sen. Cardin (D-MD): “America under @POTUS’ failed leadership continues to turn its back on the most vulnerable, innocent people in the world. In the midst of the worst global refugee crisis since WWII, the U.S. should be leading by example. This cruelty is hard to understand. #RefugeesWelcome” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Sen. Coons (D-DE): “The Trump Administration should focus on real threats to our national security instead of turning away innocent men, women, and children fleeing violence and persecution. We must keep fighting to restore refugee admissions to previous levels.  #RefugeesWelcome” [Twitter-9/18/2018]

Sen. Durbin (D-IL):  “Pres Trump has once again dropped America’s moral standing to a new low by setting the refugee ceiling at an embarrassingly low 30,000 in the midst of the worst refugee crisis in history. This betrays America’s values & relinquishes our leadership role in defending human rights.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Sen. Grassley (R-IA): “While I appreciate the administration’s commitment to protecting national security and public safety by proposing a refugee cap, which accounts for the need to conduct adequate and thorough screenings of all who seek this benefit, it is imperative the agencies abide by their statutory mandate to consult with Congress before any number is proposed. Yet, for the second year in a row, the administration has willfully ignored its statutory mandate to inform and consult with Congress, including designated members of both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, about the number of refugees to be admitted during the next fiscal year…” [Official Press Release-9/18/18]

Sen. Harris (D-CA): “Don’t be fooled. This will be the lowest ceiling for refugee admittance to the United States since the program was created. They are turning away people fleeing persecution and oppression. They are abdicating our moral leadership.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Sen. Lankford (R-OK): “US should be a nation that refugees can legally flee from religious or other persecution. America has a responsibility to promote compassion & democracy around the world. We should continue to be that leader.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Sen. Leahy (D-VT): “In so many ways, this White House has shown a particular contempt for the world’s most vulnerable people seeking refuge from persecution and war.  What previous Republican and Democratic administrations believed was a moral responsibility – and a way to demonstrate that unmatched American power is derived in part from how we treat the powerless among us – the Trump administration shamelessly treats as a burden to be callously discarded…” [Official Press Release-9/17/18]

Sen. Markey (D-MA): “The Trump administration is proposing to slash refugee admissions before the legally-mandated consultation with Congress. At every turn, we must resist this administration’s efforts to isolate America and abandon the persecuted.” [Twitter-9/17/18]

Sen. Menendez (D-NJ): “1. Truly repugnant to see the Trump Administration double down on rejecting our foundational values & drastically decrease the number of refugees we accept. This rejects our humanitarian duty of providing those escaping persecution the opportunity to seek protection & safe haven..” Follow the Twitter thread [9/18/18]

Sen. Murphy (D-CT): “What a dark hour for a nation founded by refugees. This makes America weaker, in every way. And it empowers racists and xenophobes, in every way also.” [Twitter-9/17/18]

Sen. Sanders (I-VT): “The Trump administration’s announcement that it would again dramatically cut the number of refugees allowed into the United States to an historic low is a shameful abdication of our nation’s role as a protector of vulnerable people fleeing persecution.” [Twitter-9/20/18]

Sen. Shaheen (D-NH): “Outrageous. The decision to reduce an already all-time low on refugee admissions is the opposite of what we stand for as a nation. It harms vulnerable families who face near-certain dangers and weakens our hand on the world stage. No wonder this decision was taken without the consultation with Congress that is required. Don’t tell me this is for national security – refugees are among the most securely vetted travelers to the U.S. Congress is supposed to be consulted.” [Twitter-9/17/18]

Sen. Udall (D-NM): “In the midst of the worst refugee crisis in history, the Trump administration announces the lowest refugee ceiling ever. This not only goes against our shared American values—it’s detrimental to our international relationships and just plain wrong.” [Twitter-9/17/18]

Sen. Warren (D-MA): “We can keep our country safe AND uphold our values by helping those fleeing violence and persecution. @realDonaldTrump’s decision to drastically cut the number of refugees allowed into the US isn’t just bad policy, it’s a total failure of US moral leadership. #StandWithRefugees” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Sen. Wyden (D-OR): “The Trump admin’s cruel, arbitrary decision to slash the number of refugees who can enter America won’t do a thing to make us safer or stronger. It only robs us of people who want to work hard to make a better life here.” [Twitter-9/18/18]


Rep. Chu (D-CA): “Despite our capacity to help, Trump is capping 2019 refugee admissions at 30,000 — 15,000 fewer than last year, and 55,000 fewer than in 2016. This new refugee cap is heartless and cruel. We shouldn’t be turning people away who need help the most.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. Connolly (D-VA): “Against a record high global refugee crisis, the Trump administration’s record low refugee admissions cap is dangerous and un-American. My bill would require POTUS to admit at least 110,000 refugees annually so that we can restore America’s leadership role in refugee resettlement” [Twitter-9/17/18]

Rep. Cicilline (D-RI): “The callous decision announced today by Secretary Pompeo, made outside of the statutory process that governs refugee admissions, is sadly, entirely in keeping with this Administration’s concerted efforts to prevent legal immigration into this country.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. Deutch (D-FL):

“US Refugee cap:
2016 – 110,00
2017 – 50,000
2018 – 45,000
2019 – 30,000
We are turning our backs on tens of thousands of people who are counting on us to honor our American values to save their lives.
This is not who we are.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. DeSaulnier (D-CA): “The Trump Administration announced it will lower the refugee ceiling to a new historic low. This decision once again shows the Administration turning its back on the people who need our help the most & erodes America’s role as a humanitarian leader.” [Twitter-9/17/18]

Rep. Espaillat (D-NY): “The @realDonaldTrump’s administration has proposed drastic cuts to the number of refugees allowed into our country, reversing decade’s long policy of welcoming immigrants with open arms.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

“Slashing the number of refugees sends a strong message the rest of the world that we do not value diversity or inclusion. This is not who we are!” [Twitter-9/18/18]

“We are a nation of immigrants. We welcome diversity, encourage inclusion, and offer a helping hand to those wishing to make our country a stronger place for all Americans.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. Frankel (D-FL): “Slashing the number of #refugees we take in during the worst refugee crisis in modern history won’t make us safer, and shutting the door to thousands of displaced people – many of them women and children fleeing war, famine, & violence – is cruel and simply un-American.” [Twitter-9/17/18]

Rep. Gallego (D-AZ): “Republicans in the House … have totally given up their historical support of refugee communities.” [The Hill- 9/18/18]

Rep. Gutierrez (D-IL): “Welcoming refugees makes America stronger. We are a beacon of hope to all nations and we should embrace and honor our place in the world, not shrink from the world in fear. RT if you agree.#twill #chicago #refugeeswelcome” [Twitter-9/18/18]

“Welcoming refugees fleeing oppression and persecution is our national identity and predates our nation itself. Welcoming refugees make us stronger. #twill #chicago #refugeeswelcome” [Twitter-9/18/18]

“The United States, strong and free, can be a world leader in protecting refugees, but fear, disinformation and the politics of division are holding us back. Welcoming refugees make us stronger.
#twill #Chicago #refugeeswelcome” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. Hoyer (D-MD): “America was founded as a haven for those fleeing poverty, war, and violence to find safety and build a better life. Denying refugees asylum is an abdication of the founding principles that have made our country great – and made our democracy strong and successful. This is a retreat when we ought to stand firm. History will look back on this moment in American history and remember the shameful way in which Congressional Republicans enabled and empowered a president whose vision of America was small, his leadership of America was weak, and his understanding of America deeply out of alignment with its people’s own.” [Official Press Release-9/17/18]

Reps. Hultgren (R-IL) and McGovern (D-MA): “We join together to express our extreme disappointment at the administration’s proposal to impose a limit on admitting no more than 30,000 refugees in the coming fiscal year. With the world in the midst of the worst refugee crisis in recorded history, with 65 million people displaced, 22.5 million of whom are refugees, American global leadership in refugee resettlement and standing as a beacon of hope is more critical than ever before…” [Official Press Release-9/19/18]

Rep. Jayapal (D-WA): “America was founded on the principles of religious freedom and protecting the vulnerable. @SecPompeo and @realDonaldTrump’s cut in refugee numbers is an affront to American ideals. I will not stand for this. #RefugeesWelcome” [Twitter-9/19/18]

“The Trump administration already accepted a historically low amount of refugees. These new restrictions are outrageous. I came here at age 16 as an immigrant and today I am a congresswoman. Who could these refugees fleeing violence be if we gave them the chance?” [Twitter-9/17/18]

Rep. Johnson (D-GA): “Thank you at all 51 colleagues who are supporting our call to welcome more refugees to our shores: https://bit.ly/2pnxgV0 #Welcome110k” [Twitter -9/20/18]

Rep. Kennedy III (D-MA): “A scared, small government looks at the 25.4 million refugees fleeing unimaginable persecution and violence, and closes its doors. A brave, strong nation would open her doors and welcome the sick, suffering & striving. We’ve learned this lesson before.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. Khanna (D-CA): “This administration’s decision to reduce the cap on refugees allowed into the U.S. is wrong. Refugees seeking entry are fleeing wars or humanitarian crises.” [Twitter-9/19/18]

Rep. Lee (D-CA): “There are more displaced people right now than at any other time in recorded history. Half of all refugees are children. Closing the door on refugees won’t make us safer or stronger. We are betraying not only those seeking shelter – but also our founding values as Americans.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. Lowenthal (D-CA): “My family came to this nation as refugees. We cannot turn our back on the neediest and the most vulnerable. These reductions are un-American and inhumane.” [Twitter-9/20/18]

Rep. Meng (D-NY): “Deeply disappointed by the Trump administration’s proposal to cap the number of refugees resettled in the U.S. at 30K people in 2019. This is a drastic one-third reduction from the 45K-person limit that was set for 2018. Turning our backs on refugees is wrong. #RefugeesWelcome” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. Moulton (D-MA): “These are not the policies of public servants; they are the fear tactics of political hacks. We need leaders in Washington who can rise above partisan politics and preserve American diplomacy.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. Moore (D-WI): “In the midst of the worst refugee crisis since World War II, the U.S. has only resettled 20,198 refugees and plans to cap resettlement at a mere 30,000.” [Twitter-9/19/18]

Rep. Nadler (D-NY): “Read my statement on the Administration’s disgraceful proposal to cap the number of refugees permitted to enter the United States. #RefugeesWelcome” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. Pallone (D-NJ): “. continues to betray American values on immigration & refugees. Throughout our history we have given shelter to those suffering and facing persecution. Trump lacks the compassion and empathy to lead our country.”

Rep. Panetta (D-CA): “Refugees are the most thoroughly vetted people who enter our country to flee violence & persecution. This decision is not just irresponsible, it is incompatible with our democratic ideals behind our long standing tradition to accept the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ): “The harm of Trump’s unconscionable policies is felt by so many refugees fleeing war, famine, and ethnic cleansing. This great piece chronicles those impacts. With every cruel restriction Lady Liberty’s torch grows dimmer.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. Peters (D-CA): “The Trump Administration continues to abdicate our humanitarian leadership by lowering the refugee caps. The latest announcement is a record low and shuts the door on those fleeing violence and oppression.”

Rep. Pocan (D-WI):Refugees & asylum seekers rely on the U.S. to rebuild their lives without the threat of violence and persecution. @realDonaldTrump continues to show his immoral leadership & lack of empathy by reducing the refugee cap during the world’s worst refugee crisis since WWII.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL):“As a political + co-chair of the Cong Refugee Caucus w , I’m appalled by Admin’s decision to once again slash refugee caps. With crises in every region of the world, US should be doing more, not less, to be a global leader in refugee protection.” [Twitter-9/17/18]

Rep. Schiff (D-CA): “America has been a beacon of hope for those fleeing religious persecution, war, and violence. Facing the worst global refugee crisis of the postwar period, the Admin is closing the door. Trump would have us become a fearful nation, yearning to wall itself off from the world.” [Twitter-9/18/18]

Rep. Schakowsky (D-IL): “As humanitarian catastrophes continue to worsen the global refuge crisis, @realdonaldtrump shuts America’s doors further. This is not who we are. Refugees are welcome here.” [Twitter-9/17/18]

Rep. Titus (D-NV): “The Trump Admin. continues to push policies that close doors, build walls, and separate families. We will not stand idly by in the face of the world’s worst refugee crisis.” [Twitter-9/17/18]

Rep. Welch (D-VT): “Slashing the number of refugees admitted to the United States is shameful, unnecessary, and unjustified. America has long been a beacon of hope for those fleeing violence and persecution around the world, and we are a stronger for it…” [Twitter-9/18/18]

September 20, 2018