Since Congress created the Refugee Resettlement Program in 1980, the U.S. government has resettled about 3 million refugees from around the world. However this year’s new rules from the Trump administration have slashed refugees admittance from 110,000 per year to 45,000. Minnesota is known as a refugee friendly state. In 2016, refugees arrived from 25 different nations, the largest contingent by far was from Somalia whereby Minnesota welcomed 1,405 refugees. It is estimated that Minnesota will receive fewer refugees in total this year, at a paltry 1,385. “It’s definitely going to be lower than last year,” says Micaela Schuneman, director of refugee services at the International Institute of Minnesota.
It is reported that the world’s refugee population is the largest since World War II, having reached more than 22 million refugees. The Travel/Muslim ban has reduced the number of refugee admissions from Muslim majority countries. “The need for refugee resettlement is increasing, but our capacity to help is decreasing based on the U.S. commitment to helping refugees decreasing,” says Ms. Schuneman. “We’re not resettling fewer refugees because there are fewer people who need help.”
On top of that, she added, the administration is increasing security checks for applicants, especially those refugees from Muslim countries affected by the ban. Ms. Schuneman says that this is expected to add longer wait times to the overall resettlement process and make it difficult for people to come to the U.S. “Even though the number of refugees who need our assistance is continuing to rise, the number of people our country and our state will resettle is going to drop … because we’re not being allowed to help them resettle here.”