House Democrats demand administration consult with Congress before determining refugee admissions

House Democrats demand administration consult with Congress before determining refugee admissions
© Getty Images

Reps. Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerPelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Nadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime Lewandowski says he's under no obligation to speak truthfully to the media MORE (D-N.Y.) and Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenBottom line Gun epidemic is personal for lawmakers touched by violence House Democrats demand administration consult with Congress before determining refugee admissions MORE (D-Calif.), the respective chairs of the House Judiciary Committee and Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee demanded that the Trump Administration administration consult with Congress before determining the number of refugee admissions to the country for the coming fiscal year.

In a letter to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Pentagon waiting for Saudi assessment on attack | Defense bill talks begin | Border fight takes centerstage | Pentagon finalizes .5B in wall contracts | US withholds Afghan aid citing corruption House Armed Services panel gets classified briefing on Saudi attacks US withholds 0M in Afghan aid citing corruption MORE, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Nadler and Lofgren pointed to a law mandating the administration discuss the refugee admissions with Congress, noting that fiscal year 2020 is 17 days away. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“We write to express our alarm that the Administration appears to be taking a cavalier approach to the statutory requirements and historic norms for the presidential determination for refugee admissions. For the past two fiscal years, the Administration has set historically low levels of refugee admissions while side-stepping or only nominally complying with critical legal requirements for consultation,” they wrote. 

“We are increasingly disturbed by the Administration’s disregard for legal requirements, congressional intent, and the importance of refugee resettlement to our nation. This year, we expect that the Administration will comply with the law by providing the required report to Congress and initiating the consultation process shortly.” 

Immigration hardliners in the White House eyed cutting down on the number refugees admitted to the country as the administration aims to reduce the total number of migrants entering the U.S. 

The administration reduced the refugee admissions ceiling to 45,000 and 30,000 for fiscal years 2018 and 2019, respectively, while reports emerged in July that it is considering capping the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. in 2020 at zero

“We have also been alarmed by reports regarding the proposed refugee ceiling” Nadler and Lofgren wrote. “These cuts further undermine our nation’s core values, including our historic commitment to refugee resettlement, and critical foreign policy interests abroad.” 

The State Department, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Hill.