In recognition of World Refugee Day, the International Rescue Committee released a new report, (Un)welcome: the state of refugee resettlement in America. The report includes a public opinion poll, a domestic impacts survey, and international impact analysis. While 76 percent of polled Americans saw the refugee crisis as an important national and global issue and 60 percent believe the U.S. has a moral obligation to accept refugees according to the poll conducted by the IRC, the IRC’s analysis shows that there is a steep 70 percent drop in U.S. Refugee Admissions, signaling departure from U.S. humanitarian leadership.

The report follows newly updated figures on global displacement, which have reached an all-time high of 68.5 million and a humanitarian crisis unfolding at the U.S. border. 

For the greater DC area specifically, the year over year decrease of 70 percent in FY18 has instead been a story of the community coming together to support refugees according to the office. In FY17, nationally, the IRC worked with more than 7,600 volunteers and saw a 97% increase in volunteer applications compared to the previous year. And, IRC has seen support in the form of increased private sources of funding to continue to maintain critical programming.

Said Ruben Chandrasekar, Executive Director of IRC in Greater D.C. and Baltimore –

“We are experiencing the greatest humanitarian crisis of our lifetime - more people than ever before are fleeing their homes as a result of conflict and crisis. Think about the human consequence and lost potential: millions of children unable to attend school, a “lost” generation of young men and women with limited career and economic opportunities, countless families surviving day-by-day without planning for the future and communities stretched to the brink.

"The United States has the capacity and the proven know-how to meet these resettlement goals, even amidst policy and vetting changes. It is unnecessary admissions are so low. Our community has chosen to stand on the right side of history, the impact is significant. Human potential is unleashed, communities become more vibrant and new opportunities allow for all individuals to reach greater success.”

Decreasing refugee admissions has consequences at home and abroad

  • The IRC projects that at the current pace, the U.S. will resettle no more than 21,000 refugees in FY18, barely reaching half of the Trump administration’s cap this year of 45,000, and falling far below the annual average of 95,000.
  • The decline in refugee arrivals has left many employers with jobs they are unable to fill by American workers. In FY17, IRC’s workforce programming helped clients find employment with more than 1,700 employers nationwide.
  • The slowdown in resettlement jeopardizes U.S. national security interests while creating an added burden for key U.S. allies. Over three-quarters (76%) of polled Americans saw the refugee crisis as an important national and global issue, including over one-third who said it was very important.
  • In the face of the resettlement slowdown, there has been an outpouring of community and private support for refugees. In FY17, IRC worked with more than 7,600 volunteers and saw a 97 percent increase in volunteer applications compared to the previous year. Most IRC offices across the U.S. have seen support in the form of increased private sources of funding to support critical programming.

To read the full report click here

ABOUT THE IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. To learn more click here.