The number of refugee arrivals to the United States has been cut by nearly 60% since the Administration’s new limitations on entry went into effect. And while the effect this has on refugee arrivals is apparent, it also means that the Administration no longer requires as extensive a network of resettlement offices throughout the country.
Offices expecting to handle fewer than 100 refugees in fiscal year 2018 will no longer be authorized to resettle new arrivals. Officials are currently reviewing the proposals submitted by resettlement agencies and will come to a final decision in the coming weeks. Under this new proposal, a minimum or 20 resettlement offices would close. However, at this point it is still unclear what this means for resettlement in Michigan.
“The number of refugees arriving in Michigan fell to the lowest level last year since at least 2011 with 2,520 arrivals in 2017 — down 41 percent from 4,254 in 2016 and a decline from 3,015 in 2015. Even fewer are expected this year.”
The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants Detroit office resettled 455 refugees in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties last year but expects maybe half that number this year, down from 759 refugees in 2016, said director Tawfik Alazem.
“We have to keep doing what we’re doing. This is not really about people who work for resettlement agencies. It’s about the refugees themselves. These people are running away from what we all fear — violence and wars. I honestly think we should keep welcoming them,” Alazem said, “We are waiting to see if things will improve through spring and summertime.”
While times are tense for resettlement agencies, USCRI’s focus remains steadfast on our clients. While the US is on course to accept far fewer than the 45,000 refugees set for 2018, those welcomed are still our priority.
Read the full article on the impact of shrinking arrivals here.