With the Trump administration continuing to attack immigrants, it's becoming even more difficult for refugees to enter the country. A new CNN report has revealed that the Trump administration hasn't resettled any refugees in the month of October. Despite already going through a lengthy screening process, refugees who had been admitted to the U.S. and were expecting to begin the resettlement process subsequently had their arrival flights cancelled.
This isn't the first time that the Trump administration has delayed refugee admissions. First, travel was postponed through Oct. 21, and then again to Oct. 28. This latest delay resulted in the cancellation of 500 flights — and a big part of the problem is that these delays have significant costs.
Not only are the flights cancelled by the administration funded by taxpayers — meaning that the repeated cancelling and rebooking eats up more taxpayer dollars — but the consistent change also leaves refugees in a state of uncertainty. It's unclear when exactly the administration plans to reschedule those 500 cancelled flights, but a State Department spokesperson said the pause on admissions runs through Nov. 5.
""We will work with our implementing partners to plan for a resumption of refugee arrivals, including rescheduling travel for those affected by the extension," the spokesperson told CNN.
The State Department hasn't given a clear reason for why it keeps stopping admissions. But it's likely because Trump hasn't signed off on the refugee ceiling for the new fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, according to CNN.
Trump has made it clear that he intends to accept fewer refugees than ever before, so these cancellations aren't exactly a surprise. In September, the administration said it plans to set this year's fiscal refugee cap at 18,000, which is a 40% reduction from the 2019 cap of 30,000. That itself was already a historic low, so it seems Trump is setting out to beat his own record in the worst ways possible.
"Today’s refugee admissions announcement is immoral, and un-American. It is yet another shameful marker for an administration already in a race to the bottom of inhumane policies that betray everything our nation stands for," Daryl Grisgraber, the humanitarian policy lead for Oxfam America, told BuzzFeed News about the September announcement.
The series of delays has also caused problems for some of the refugees' resettlement plans. CNN reported that Bethany Christian Services, a nonprofit that works with refugee resettlement, was set to admit unaccompanied minors and place them in foster homes. Due to the Trump administration's delays, however, four of those minors have turned 18 and no longer quality for foster care.
""We are systematically re-traumatizing people who have already been through a significant amount of trauma. It's unconscionable," Danielle Grigsby, the interim director of Refugee Council USA, told CNN.
The administration's hard line on refugees tracks with the rest of its stringent immigration policies. CNN also reported Tuesday that arrests at the U.S.-Mexico border have jumped 342% over the past year, "driven by a surge in asylum seekers." This fiscal year, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has apprehended 473,682 family members at the border — up from 107,212 last fiscal year — including more unaccompanied children than at any point on record in American history.