While the limit on the number of refugees entering the United State has been reached, if the United Nations has its way, more can be expected. While the Trump administration set a limit of 50,000 refugees entering the U.S., the number of refugees worldwide recently hit a historical high of 65.5 million, according to the UN. Because the United States is a member of the UN, it is continuously under pressure to accept more.
The refugee cap set by the current administration was reached on July 12, but because of a Supreme Court ruling last month, more refugees can still enter if they can prove close familial ties to persons already living in the country. As a result of the high court’s ruling on Trump's travel ban executive order, according to the State Department, as of July 13, persons who have a “credible claim to a bona fide relationship” to a person or an entity in the country will be eligible for admission.
An interagency group within the federal government define “bonafide relationship” for the purposes of admitting refugees on the basis of the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, there are advocacy groups that are going to court to re-define which persons may be admitted. In any event, when the new fiscal year begins on October 1, the current cap of 50,000 will presumably be applied to the following months. There is no way to know how many refugees will actually enter the country because there is no way to predict how a re-definition of close familial relationship will affect the exact total.
Every year, the president sets the limit for the entry of refugees. Barack Obama increased the number from 85,000 to 110,000 in 2016. Trump has cut that down. However, it is not the lowest number for refugees set in one year since the 1980 Refugee Act. After 9/11, the number of refugees dropped to just over 27,131 in 2002.
Another source of an increase in refugees is in Iraq, Because of the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act, Iraqis have direct access to U.S. resettlement program because of their service to United States: government, contractors, military, media, and non-governmental organizations. Tens of thousands of Iraqis are waiting for resettlement. And removing refugees already in the country will be difficult. Recently, a number of Iraqi Christians were arrested and processed for deportation in Michigan. Because they claimed that they will certainly face persecution and death in their home country, a federal court has blocked their removal.
A United Nations report explained what it calls “replacement migration” as a means of addressing demographic decline in Europe, Japan, and North America, due to low-birthrate and aging.
Published in 2000, the report read:
“Replacement migration refers to the international migration that a country would need to prevent population decline and population ageing resulting from low fertility and mortality rates. United Nations projections indicate that between 1995 and 2050, the population of Japan and virtually all countries of Europe will most likely decline. In a number of cases, including Estonia, Bulgaria and Italy, countries would lose between one quarter and one third of their population. Population ageing will be pervasive, bringing the median age of population to historically unprecedented high levels. For instance, in Italy, the median age will rise from 41 years in 2000 to 53 years in 2050. The potential support ratio -- i.e., the number of persons of working age (15-64 years) per older person -- will often be halved, from 4 or 5 to 2.”
The study focused on several countries, including the US, Japan, and Italy:
“Focusing on these two striking and critical trends, the report examines in detail the case of eight low-fertility countries (France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States) and two regions (Europe and the European Union). In each case, alternative scenarios for the period 1995-2050 are considered, highlighting the impact that various levels of immigration would have on population size and population ageing.”
The report noted that over the next 50 years, while the populations of most developed countries are projected to become smaller and older as a result of low fertility and increased longevity, the United States’ population is expected to increase by almost 25 percent. However, Italy is expected to see the sharpest decline (a loss of 28 percent) between 1995 and 2050.
“The population of the European Union, which in 1995 was larger than that of the United States by 105 million, in 2050, will become smaller by 18 million.”
The report concluded:
“The new challenges of declining and ageing populations will require a comprehensive reassessment of many established policies and programmes, with a long-term perspective. Critical issues that need to be addressed include: (a) the appropriate ages for retirement; (b) the levels, types and nature of retirement and health care benefits for the elderly; (c) labour force participation; (d) the assessed amounts of contributions from workers and employers to support retirement and health care benefits for the elderly population; and (e) policies and programmes relating to international migration, in particular, replacement migration and the integration of large numbers of recent migrants and their descendants.”