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Refugee Resettlement In N.H. Plummets Under Trump Administration

Sara Plourde

The number of refugees being resettled in New Hampshire has dropped dramatically under the Trump administration.

There were 162 refugees resettled in the state in Fiscal Year 2018, according to an annual report from the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services. That's down from 518 two years prior. 

Since taking office, President Trump has lowered the ceiling on refugee admissions into the United States, setting a cap of 30,000 for Fiscal Year 2019, a record low in the program's 43-year history. 

By comparison, the U.S. admitted nearly 85,000 refugees in 2016. 

NHPR's The Exchange examined the refugee program in New Hampshire on Monday. Jeff Thielman, CEO and President of the International Institute of New England, was on the panel. His agency is one of two that works to resettle refugees in New Hampshire. 

Thielman criticized the Trump administration's policies limiting refugees.

"We're big enough. We have enough need for workers right now. And we have a longstanding history of resettling refugees," Thielman said. "The facts on the ground show that when the United States of America resettles refugees, people in other countries are kinder to refugees and it alleviates some of the pressure on the system worldwide."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the cap on refugees reflects the administration's preference for settling refugees closer to their home counties. He also raised concerns about security.

"We must continue to responsibly vet applicants to prevent the entry of those who might do harm to our country," Pompeo said in Sept. 2018, announcing the lower refugee cap.

Most of the refugees resettled in New Hampshire in 2018 came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to DHHS.

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