WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States must rethink how it sets refugee resettlement levels at a time of record high displacement of people worldwide, according to a paper published today.
The paper posts as newly announced resettlement numbers for January show continued low admissions — we resettled 1,049 refugees last month. The number of forcibly displaced people worldwide has surpassed 84 million, according to UNHCR, the U.N. Refugee Agency.
“The United States needs a new refugee admissions methodology that adapts to global resettlement needs, aligns with our capacity to welcome, and faithfully reflects the historical intentions of our refugee laws and the values of charity rooted in the American spirit,” according to the paper. “ … Welcoming the persecuted supports geopolitical stability and reinforces America’s commitment to human rights and democracy around the world.”
It goes on to suggest a systematic method based on the UNHCR’s annual Refugees in Need of Resettlement (RINOR) number — the estimated population of forcibly displaced people who are most in need of permanent resettlement each year. The U.S. should set a resettlement baseline at 10% of that number each year, according to the paper.
“With so many people in need of stability, the U.S. can and should be doing more,” said Danilo Zak, Policy and Advocacy Manager at the National Immigration Forum and co-author of the paper. “We want to offer a practical, consistent way for the U.S. to reclaim its humanitarian and security leadership, one that would not get bogged down in politics.
“At the same time, the government must continue to rebuild our refugee resettlement infrastructure. Higher targets are meaningless if we fall desperately short of reaching them.”