In a blistering statement Wednesday afternoon, the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called out the Trump administration for its rushed consultation of the committee before announcing it would lower the refugee cap next year.
Grassley and Feinstein complained that they learned of the refugee cap in the news before they had a meeting with the administration, despite asking months ago for a meeting on the issue. State Department officials met with the members of both the House and Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday afternoon, and only scheduled the meeting on Tuesday, per Grassley and Feinstein.
“We are incredibly frustrated that the annual consultation for refugee admissions, which is required by law, was finalized just one day in advance. It is simply unacceptable to read in the press that the administration had reached its decision on the refugee cap before the mandated meeting with Congress had even been scheduled,” Grassley and Feinstein said in the statement.
“Since August, our offices have made bipartisan requests to the State Department on this meeting. Congress and the law require real engagement on this important subject,” they added. “An eleventh-hour meeting to check a legal box is not sufficient.”
The Trump administration has yet to formally announce next year’s refugee cap, but plans to limit the number of refugees accepted into the U.S. to 45,000, down from the 110,000 the Obama administration aimed to admit in 2017.
The Republican chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), seemed less upset about the Trump administration’s consultation process, praising the plan in a statement Wednesday evening.
“For generations, the United States has been a safe haven for those around the world fleeing persecution in their home countries. The Trump Administration’s refugee ceiling for the coming year maintains our nation’s generosity toward those in need, and importantly, ensures limited resources are used wisely and our citizens are protected in light of ongoing terrorist threats,” Goodlatte said in a statement.