President Donald Trump may be considering giving states and cities the power to decide on the admission of refugees approved for settlement.
A draft executive order leaked to NBC News states that state and local jurisdictions may decide on the refugees the federal administration has assigned to their jurisdiction.
According to the draft, the federal government will resettle refugees only where both the relevant state and local governments have consented to participate in the program that allows refugees to resettle.
A senior official in the Department of Human Services stated NBC that the measure is being evaluated by attorneys and staff from different government agencies.
This regulation would have an exception in the case of people who already have family settled in the territory, in which case their “approval” would be automatic.
The difference between an asylum application and a refugee application is that the first one is processed once the applicant arrives at the border or after entering the country legally, while the refugee application is processed from abroad.
The U.S. refugee program establishes the number of people who are admitted to the country annually.
By 2018, President Trump determined that up to 45,000 refugees could be admitted, with this figure, the United States resettles more refugees than any other country, according to a White House statement. In 2019 the number was 30,000.
“Pursuant to section 6 of Executive Order 13780, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States,” the United States government is taking additional steps to enhance the screening of individuals seeking admission as refugees in order to improve the safety and security of the United States,” the statement said.
Since 1975, according to official data, the United States has hosted more than 3 million refugees from around the world, and each year it usually admits almost two-thirds of the world’s refugees.
The primary goal of U.S. refugee policy is to help protect them and support durable solutions, including returning them safely to their homes, “where they can reunite with friends and family and help rebuild their communities.”
There has been no official confirmation of the status of this new measure beyond the leak published by NBC News.