Dems call on Trump to consult Congress before lowering refugee quota

Dems call on Trump to consult Congress before lowering refugee quota
© Greg Nash

Two top Democratic senators are demanding that President Trump consult Congress before reducing the number of refugees allowed in the United States annually.

A letter signed by Sens. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate GOP breaks record on confirming Trump picks for key court Deal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE (Calif.) and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDeal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE Senate Dems press for info on any deals from Trump-Putin meeting MORE (Ill.) calls on Trump to "immediately begin the process of scheduling the consultation" with members of Congress, rather than unilaterally changing policy.

"To date, we have not received a proposed refugee admissions plan for fiscal year 2018 or received any cooperation from your agencies in scheduling the refugee consultation. We request that the proposed refugee admissions report be transmitted to Congress promptly," the two Democrats wrote.

"We write to remind you that prior to any final presidential decision on the number of refugees admitted, the law requires the Administration engage in a meaningful consultation involving Senate and House Judiciary Committee leaders and Cabinet-level officials," they added.

In a statement on Twitter, Durbin stressed the importance of America's refugee program.

"We cannot abandon America’s tradition of giving safe haven to vulnerable families fleeing war & terrorism," Durbin said Thursday.

The Trump administration is considering lowering the yearly quota for refugees to 50,000, the lowest level since 1980. 

Several advisers, including Stephen Miller, are urging Trump to alter the quota as the deadline to set the number of refugees who are allowed to enter the U.S. draws closer. The president is required to set a new number each year on Oct. 1 under the Refugee Act of 1980.

The move comes just as the Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted restrictions on Trump's travel ban, which prohibited travel from six predominantly Muslim countries. The Supreme Court will hear two cases challenging Trump's travel ban in October.