Wednesday, 2 Dec 2020

Trump refugee policy ripped to shreds in brutal analysis as he’s sent second term warning

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Both Mr Trump and Mr Biden are facing an anxious wait to find out who has successfully navigated a deeply controversial election and claimed a win to become the next US President. Mr Trump, who has been behind in many polls ahead of the vote, has seen encouraging signs as the results begin to emerge in what has been dubbed the most important election in a generation. Mr Biden remains a favourite to complete a victory over his Republican rival, and the International Rescue Committee (IRC)’s vice president for US Programmes, Hans Van de Weerd, told Express.co.uk that whoever next enters the White House, they must ensure that the values and principles the country was built on was respected.

After Mr Trump sensationally beat Democrat Hillary Clinton to the presidency back in 2016, the IRC has said that the number of asylum seekers granted access to the US had dropped significantly.

During his predecessor Barack Obama’s term as President, around 95,000 asylum seekers were welcomed into the US annually, but estimates show that in August – just 7,900 had been allowed in.

Major fears for those refugees and asylum seekers looking for safety in the country have erupted further, with reports many have been left in deteriorating camps as they await news of their applications.

To compound those fears, the coronavirus pandemic has also been highlighted as another reason the process of ensuring the safe passage into the country is maintained.

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Mr Van de Weerd explained that before Mr Trump, the US had a long, and proud history, of letting people into the country, but would now routinely “send them back into danger”, with the President’s Migrant Protection Protocols policy making asylum seekers wait in Mexico for their case to be granted access to be heard.

Yet, the most damning aspect for humanitarian groups such as the IRC was the fact in March – with the COVID-19 outbreak beginning to take a grip of the US – Mr Trump said the country would turn away all non-US citizens.

This, the IRC and others claimed, was legally unjust.

Mr Van de Weerd called on Mr Biden, or Mr Trump, to make drastic changes to ensure the country goes back to its rich history in supporting those from war-torn nations.

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He explained that Mr Trump had “presented immigrants and refugees as a risk and as an economic burden”, adding: “It’s an argument that really plays well, with the base and the group of people who voted for President Trump and I think it’s a very clear political strategy to pursue.

“The country has a longstanding history of resettling refugees, around 95,000 per year – sometimes even more – and that was a tradition that was supported by both parties.

“But that said, the Republican party under President Trump, really broke with that tradition and has really decimated the programme and they have done that by really reducing the annual refugee ceiling, which is a ceiling that is set by the President.

“The first thing I would say about an administration and what it can do is to increase the number of refugees being resettled by the US, and increase that annual ceiling to a number that is more reflective of our global needs and in line with the capacity of this country.”

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According to Mr Van de Weerd, Mr Biden has pledged to ensure more refugees and asylum seekers are allowed into the US, a move welcomed by the IRC.

He added: “The stakes are high for refugees in this election and the difference between the two campaigns couldn’t be more stark than they are now.

“One candidate tries to keep refugees, and asylum seekers which is a different legal category which is also a substantial group in the US, one campaign wants to keep the levels as little as possible and another campaign which basically wants to restore the US’ role in the world.”

His comments echo that of the organisation’s leader, David Miliband, who previously told Express.co.uk how Mr Trump had made the issue “toxic”.

The former Labour leader candidate believed the US had “historically welcomed more refugees than any other country” before saying its programmes “had been slashed under President Trump”.

Currently, the election remains on a knife-edge, with Mr Biden projected to win key states such as Massachusetts and New Jersey.

The vote is set to see the US make history with its highest turnout of voters in more than a century.

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