In our 2018 Report Card, Refugees International noted that governments around the world confronted humanitarian challenges of enormous proportion. Sadly, those challenges have increased since then. There are now more than 70 million refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) around the world. Because the United States has long played a critical role in helping to meet the needs of refugees and IDPs, it is appropriate and important that Refugees International evaluates the Trump administration’s progress on refugee and humanitarian protection.
We have evaluated the Trump administration in seven critical areas both in the United States and overseas. As was the case last year, the Trump administration has received an overall failing grade for its policies and performance. However, as the analysis in this report card demonstrates, the poor performance of the Trump administration has further deteriorated over the past year. In short, policies that already merited a failing grade have gotten worse.
Over the past 12 months, the Trump administration has continued and accelerated measures to eliminate protections for refugees and asylum seekers under U.S. law, as well as weaken the international system of humanitarian and refugee response. These have included:
Systematic efforts to effectively end asylum for large numbers of credible claimants at the U.S. southern border.
Continued and stepped up effort to cripple the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.
Rejection of international compacts on enhanced protection and management of migrants and refugees endorsed by an overwhelming majority of other governments.
Proposals for massive cuts to U.S. international humanitarian assistance.
The absence of presidential leadership on efforts to respond to or even recognize massive human rights violations and forced migrations in places like Myanmar.
The actions of the Trump administration have been discouraging. But as we wrote in last year’s report, there is little that prevents President Trump and his administration from changing course and substantially improving U.S. practices to bring them into conformity with both international refugee law and best practices.