Refugee admissions were up 5% in July
Refugee Processing Center data for July shows a 5% increase over June with 2,589 admissions. This is the third month in a row to see an increase in arrivals, but with only 2 months left in this fiscal year the United States is on track to resettle just 21,228 refugees through the US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) – less than 20% of the admissions cap of 125,000.
Almost half of resettled individuals in July were from the Democratic Republic of Congo (1,182). Arrivals from both Afghanistan and Syria dropped significantly in July: arrivals from Afghanistan dropped from 261 people in June to 127 in July, and arrivals from Syria fell from 518 to 270. Resettlement from Latin American countries also remained low despite recent promises from the administration to increase resettlement from the Western hemisphere.
June and July are among the top three months for resettlement under President Biden’s administration, but they are well below historic averages of at least 7,000 refugees per month. These low resettlement numbers month after month underscore the urgent need for the Biden administration to apply more resources and personnel to rebuild and strengthen the USRAP.
New York judge denied a request for relief from DACA applicants
Last week a judge in New York denied a request for relief from approximately 80,000 DACA applicants in limbo. These were first-time DACA applicants who had not been allowed to apply under the Trump administration, but were given a brief window of time to apply for the program between the Supreme Court ruling that overturned the Trump administration’s termination of DACA and the Judge Hanen ruling last summer. After Judge Hanen’s ruling, these first time applications were no longer allowed to be approved, affecting tens of thousands of people who had already filed their applications and paid their fees.
Children continue to be harmed by border policies
We continue to see disturbing reports of the disproportionate harm done to children in families seeking to migrate. Last week, Cronkite News of Arizona reported that in Tapachula, Mexico there are tens of thousands of migrants waiting in “documentation limbo” to be allowed to either work in Mexico or continue their journey northward, and a third of those waiting are children.
This weekend The Atlantic published a heart-wrenching overview of the history of the Zero Tolerance policy that led to the separation of at least 5,569 children from their families under the Trump administration, and the continuing chaos in seeking to reunite them. While DHS announced that their Family Reunification Taskforce has reunited 400 families, this remains a fraction of those impacted. In a chilling conclusion to the article, reporter Caitlin Dickerson writes, “In my interviews, the Hawks argued that Zero Tolerance had been effective—or that it would have been, if only it had been left in place a little longer—suggesting that if Trump or someone who shares his views on immigration were to be elected in 2024, family separations would almost definitely recommence.”