Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today called on the Trump Administration to consult Congress immediately regarding the refugee ceiling for the coming year as required by law. Earlier this week, Department of State Secretary Mike Pompeo announced the fiscal year 2019 refugee ceiling without having first consulted with Congress.
Chairman Goodlatte: “The law is clear: the Administration must consult with Congress prior to the President’s determination of the annual refugee ceiling. But this did not happen this year, and the Trump Administration has no excuse for not complying with their obligation under the law. There is a real question as to whether the President can even set a number of refugees that carries the weight of law unless it is done after an appropriate consultation with Congress. Leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary Committee have worked in good faith for weeks to schedule a consultation, and I call on the Trump Administration to provide the Committees with a consultation immediately.
“The Administration’s lack of consultation underscores once again why this process is fundamentally flawed and why the refugee program is in need of reform. Congress, not the President, should set the annual refugee ceiling. The refugee program is currently the only immigration benefit program with an annual limit that is not determined by Congress. Immigration and Border Security Chairman Raul Labrador and I have introduced the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act, which has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee. This bill, among many other provisions, gives Congress the authority to set the refugee ceiling. The Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act maintains our nation’s generosity toward those in need and prevents bad actors from gaming the system.”
Background: In June 2017, the House Judiciary Committee approved the Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act (H.R. 2826). This bill reforms the refugee program by curbing fraud and strengthening public safety and national security. It also provides state and local governments the power to decide if refugees are to be resettled within their communities and gives Congress, not the President, the authority to set the overall refugee ceiling for each year.