ANOTHER MILESTONE in America’s retreat from global leadership passed Monday when the Trump administration announced that it will cap refugee admissions next year at 30,000, by far the lowest ceiling since the current program was established in 1980. The total is just over a third of the number admitted in 2016, the last year of the Obama administration.
Judging from the current year, even that paltry goal may overstate actual admissions, as officials use bureaucratic means to cripple the program.
In announcing this abdication, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it should not be misread as “the sole barometer of America’s commitment to vulnerable people around the world.”
That’s a fair point. A “barometer” would include a raft of other programs and initiatives the administration has used to intimidate, deter, remove, oppress and, in some cases, terrify other groups of vulnerable migrants, including many who aspire to enter this country or who are already here: Thousands of Central American parents and children forcibly separated as a means of dissuading their compatriots who might follow. More than 400,000 Hondurans, Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, Haitians and others who lived and worked lawfully in the United States for many years before the administration announced it would terminate their legal status, insisting it was safe for them to go home. Some 700,000 “dreamers” — mostly teens and 20-somethings reared and educated in this country — whose lawful status the administration has struggled mightily to revoke.