Local advocates rallied Thursday to protest the federal government's new restrictions on refugee admissions.
This week, President Trump announced plans to cap the number of refugees who can resettle in the U.S. next year at 30,000, down from 45,000 in 2018. That's the lowest number in the history of the 38-year-old program.
“In our region, one out of 10 people is born outside this country and makes huge contributions to our economy,” said Columbus City Council member Elizabeth Brown. “Refugees and immigrants add $1.6 billion to our local economy in spending power.”
According to a 2015 report from Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS), there are 873 refugee-owned businesses in the Columbus metropolitan area.
“So when we talk about a federal policy decided at the federal level by President Trump, what disturbs me about that is he’s forgetting to look at the local impact,” Brown says.
The Trump administration has argued that refugee resources should be used to address domestic asylum claims.
“There are hundreds of families in Central Ohio who are hurting because of these anti-immigration policies,” says Angie Plummer, executive director of CRIS.
The cap sets the maximum number of refugees allowed into the U.S. during the fiscal year, which starts October 1. The actual number admitted could be even lower.