US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives to present the 2018 International Religious Freedom Report at the State Department in Washington, DC, on June 21, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Nicholas Kamm-AFP)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives to present the 2018 International Religious Freedom Report at the State Department in Washington, DC, on June 21, 2019. (Photo/JTA-Nicholas Kamm-AFP)

Bay Area Jewish orgs condemn Trump admin’s plan to admit no refugees in 2020

Four Bay Area Jewish organizations signed onto an Aug. 7 letter condemning the Trump administration’s recent proposal to admit zero refugees in fiscal year 2020, a policy that would “violate our values as Jews and Americans.”

The letter, addressed to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was signed by Congregation Kol Shofar in Tiburon, the S.F.-based Jewish Family and Children’s Services, the East Bay-based Jewish Family & Community Services and Jewish Family Services in Silicon Valley. They were among 167 national, state and local Jewish organizations that signed the letter.

“As Jews, we know all too well what happens when people fleeing for their lives have nowhere to turn,” the letter reads. “The Jewish community has a particular moral responsibility that compels our commitment to welcoming refugees.”

The letter calls for the administration to meet the remainder of the 2019 fiscal year allowance of 30,000 refugee admissions by Sept. 30, and then return to the country’s “historic norms” and set the cap at 95,000 for 2020.

Number of refugees arriving in the U.S., 1980-2017. Data from Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2019 Report. (Graphic/Gabriel Greschler)
Number of refugees arriving in the U.S., 1980-2017. Data from Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2019 Report. (Graphic/Gabriel Greschler)

The last time it was close to that number was in 1995, when 99,974 refugees were admitted. Since then, there has been a downward trend.

The proposed zero-refugee policy was first reported by Politico last month. According to the report, a U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services representative “closely aligned with White House immigration adviser Stephen Miller suggested setting a [refugee] cap at zero.”

Gabriel Greschler
Gabriel Greschler

Gabriel Greschler is J.'s editorial assistant.