We reported on the “official” notification involving March 3rd, here and here and wondered what the significance of that date might be. It is this notification that caused the refugee resettlement contractors to go into a tailspin about their federal funding.
Thanks to Joanne for spotting this article in the Wall Street Journal that clarifies it (somewhat):
The State Department ordered its embassies abroad to delay booking travel for refugees resettling in the U.S. after March 3.
And below are some snips from the story by reporter Maria Abi-Habib (emphasis is mine):
The U.S. State Department has ordered embassies to slow resettlement of refugees for the next few weeks and delay booking travel for refugees after March 3 as the numbers approach the annual cap of 50,000 set recently by President Donald Trump, according to American officials.
Hopefully there will be more clarity early next week from Secretary of State Tillerson and the White House. BTW, sure hope they will pick someone who knows the program to be Asst. Sec. of State for PRM or else the careers will roll them!
What doesn’t make sense to me is that unless they bring them in at 1,000 a day they aren’t going to be near 50,000 by March 3rd.
U.S. officials from embassies in the Middle East said they received a directive Tuesday from the State Department’s Population, Refugee and Migration bureau to delay booking travel to the U.S. for refugees awaiting final resettlement after March 3. The directive said the numbers of refugees already admitted is close to Mr. Trump’s cap for 2017. [Not really, we are at almost 36,205 as of this morning. We added 371 since yesterday!—ed]
The same order also cut the annual limit for refugees for the year ending October 2017 to less than half of the previous administration’s 110,000 ceiling. [This is so annoying, this was Obama’s dreamland number, we have not been near that number for more than 15 years.—ed]
But the court ruling didn’t affect the 50,000 limit on refugees set out in the order, a State Department spokeswoman said. State Department officials said the refugee cap imposed by Mr. Trump is legal and isn’t being challenged as the constitution allows the president to set admissions numbers for refugees each year.
“In support of the president’s executive order, the department is preparing to reduce the number of weekly refugee arrivals such that we will admit no more than 50,000 refugees by the end of the fiscal year,” the spokeswoman said.
Some 35,000 refugees have already been admitted for the government’s 2017 fiscal year that ends in October, according to State Department figures. That leaves 15,000 slots open for the next 7-½ months. [Not 15,000 now, but 13,795 as of this morning.—ed]
“There were a lot of people stranded with the first executive order who were up for resettlement,” but their paperwork has now been delayed, said a U.S. embassy employee in the Middle East. The official added that the State Department directive told embassies not to arrange flights beyond March 3 for refugees until the State Department can determine which applicants will be given the remaining resettlement slots.
“For those that don’t make the 15,000 cut, they are out of luck until the next fiscal year,” he said.
Continue reading here.
Readers, the next fiscal year begins on October 1, 2017 and in September the Trump Administration will be sending its “determination” to Congress for “consultation.” The determination letter and report will set a ceiling for the upcoming year and designate how many and from which regions of the world we will take refugees. The 2018 fiscal year is 7 months and 10 days away.
They can’t possibly get that 13,795 in by March 3rd, so it looks like they will have to sort through many more than 13,795 and dribble them in over the remaining months. However,Trump’s original order called for a complete 120-day moratorium (4 months) and one presumes that is legal and still a possibility when he comes out with a new EO on Monday or Tuesday (or at least that is what is being reported—a new EO early in the week).
I wish I had more information for you. If something leaks out over the weekend, I’ll let you know (or you let me know!), otherwise, we will wait and see!
There is nothing set in concrete about that 50,000 number!
The President can reset it again! at say 37,000, or how about 39,554? That is the number George W. Bush admitted in 2003 as the Administration feared Islamic terrorists might be in the stream arriving in the wake of 9/11.
Go here and see why it is important for you to let Donald Trump know what you think!
This post is filed in my Trump Watch! category, here.