National security expert: No justification for dramatic drop in refugees admitted to US

National security expert Michael Breen says there is no justification for the dramatic drop in refugee admissions in the U.S. documented by a new study from the Pew Research Center.

The study found that for the first time since the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980, the U.S. is taking in fewer refugees than the rest of the world combined.

Breen, told "Rising" co-host Krystal Ball on Hill.TV that there is no real national security reason to cut back on refugee admissions.

"I can't think of a worse way to come through the U.S. than try to come through the refugee resettlement program," he said

Breen is president and CEO of The Truman Center and the Truman National Security Project, which advocates for smart national security solutions.

He also pointed to the positive impact that refugees have on the U.S. economy. 

“There is study after study showing that in a 10-year time-period, refugees contribute more to the economy than they receive in social services,” Breen told Hill.TV.

Breen said the need to take in refugees was greater than ever, with the U.S. in the middle of what he said was the worst refugee crisis in the nation's history.

"We’re living through the largest refugee crisis since World War II,” Breen said. "The U.S. meanwhile has taken the fewest refugees in the history of the program.”

The U.S. has historically led the world in refugee resettlement. Since 1980, the U.S. has taken in 3 million of the more than 4 million refugees resettled worldwide.

But that has taken a turn under the Trump administration.

According to the Pew study, which looked at data from the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR), the U.S. took in just 33,000 refugees in 2017. That figure marks a sharp decline from the roughly 97,000 refugees resettled in 2016 and the lowest amount since 9/11 when then-President George W. Bush temporarily suspended refugee admissions.

A Trump administration report, uncovered by The New York Times in 2017, found that refugees brought in over $60 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.

— Tess Bonn