Bowling Green agency opposes White House directive to further limit refugee resettlement

BOWLING GREEN, Kentucky (WBKO) — The White House has proposed again lowering the maximum number of refugees permitted into the country for fiscal year 2019, which begins October1.

In 2017 the ceiling for resettlement was 100,000 refugees.The latest numbers proposed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will limit the resettlement of international refugees to 30,000 (it was lowered to 45,000 in 2018).

“The United States anticipates processing up to 310,000 refugees and asylum seekers in fiscal year 2019,” said Pompeo. “We propose resettling up to 30,000 refugees under the new refugee ceiling as well as processing more than 280,000 asylum seekers.”

The Executive director of the International Center of Kentucky is under the impression the 45,000 number will not be met in 2018, falling about 20,000 refugees short. Albert Mbanfu told 13 News the federal government will have only helped resettle 25,000 refugees in fiscal year 2018.

Mike Pompeo cited national security and a backlog of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers as the reason behind the decreased numbers. They plan to shift their focus on analyzing some of those immigrants seeking asylum.

“The magnitude of this challenge is unequaled in any other country,” said Pompeo. “In consideration of both U.S. national security interest and the urgent need to restore integrity to our overwhelmed asylum system, the United States will focus on addressing humanitarian protection cases of those already in the country.”

Albert Mbanfu does not believe that reason is good enough.

“The backlog of hundreds of thousands,” he began, “even if they are processed, the government may end up providing asylum to maybe 100.”

Mbanfu also addressed the issue of national security.

“If somebody really wants to harm the United States, I don’t think they will want to go through the refugee resettlement program and spend probably 15 years before he ever comes to the United States,” he said. “Vet them. We don’t say do it. Vet them. We’ve been vetting, and if you look at the refugee program in general since its inception, it is the most secure means of bringing immigrants into this country.”

Mike Pompeo highlighted one instance of an ISIS member coming through the resettlement program, as well as other refugees with criminal backgrounds.

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