Refugee Policy History

Have you ever wondered about the history of Refugee policy in the United States throughout the presidents? Look at the evolvement of the executive orders different presidents have made through the History of the U.S.

President Kennedy: he directed the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to establish a formal program to assist Cuban refugees. This order was estimated to have help and/or affect 1,000,000 refugees.

Presidents Ford & Carter: brings Vietnamese’s refugees to the United States in the Spring of 1975. The order estimated to affect 360,00 Vietnamese refugees.

President Carter: establishes the Refugee Act of 1980, this act created the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program. It aimed to provide resettlement of refugees and to assist them to achieve economic self-sufficiency as quickly as possible after the arrival in the U.S. The refugee that Carter was targeting were Cuban and Haitian refugees who arrived in Mariel boatlift that admitted 150,000 refugees.

President Reagan: blocked deportation of the Nicaraguan refugees who were already in America. He also establishes that minor children of parents that were legalized by the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act were protect from deportation. Together, Reagan is estimated to have helped around 300,000 individual and families.

President Bush & Clinton: protected about 200,000 Salvadoran refugees, and roughly 20,000-40,000 Haitian refugees from being deported from the U.S.

President Obama: deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program - this meant that young adults brought to the U.S. illegally as children could apply for temporary deportation relief; this program helped approximately 1,500,00 young adults from being deported. Obama ended the Cuban policy of "wet foot, dry foot." During the fiscal year of 2016, Obama admitted roughly 90,000 refugees, and within the first 11 weeks of fiscal year of 2017 Obama had admitted 24,000 refugees to be resettled into the U.S. Before Obama's term ended, he signed an order to allow 110,000 more refugees to be resettled into the U.S. before fiscal year 2017 ended. Lastly, Obama out of any other president or Congress allowed the most Muslim population resettle here in America.

President Trump: new executive order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States changed how we looked at the resettlement program by

  • Bans travel from – Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days. Suspends the Refugee Admission Program for all countries for 120 days, and imposes a cap of 50,000 refugees for fiscal 2017.

  • No longer includes Iraq - U.S. and Iraqi governments have reached agreement about enhanced screening from Iraqi airports.

  • Specifies whom it does not affect: foreign nationals with valid visas, including those who had valid visas prior to the signing, and refugees whose travel to the U.S. has already been scheduled with the Department of State.

  • No longer singles out Syria for “indefinite” suspension of the refugee program; instead, the temporary suspension of the program applies to all countries.

  • Eliminates any preference for religious minorities.

  • Authorizes consular officials to waive the travel restriction on a case-by-case basis if the official determines the restriction would pose an undue hardship and that the entry would not pose a national security threat and would be in the national interest.

  • Authorizes the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to jointly waive the temporary refugee restriction on a similar determination that accepting the refugee would not pose a national security threat and would be in the national interest.