Eighteen activists were arrested on Tuesday during a protest against President Donald Trump’s decision to reduce the number of refugees he will admit to 18,000 over the next 12 months, Amnesty International reported.
“The 18 arrested represent the limit of 18,000 refugees set by the Trump Administration, the lowest in the history of the resettlement program,” AI said in a statement.
What they called “the first civil disobedience action in the name of refugee resettlement” took place in Capital Hill, the two-chamber building of the U.S. Congress, and resulted in the arrest of a former State Department official.
The protest was joined by 95 people with photographs of refugees to symbolize “the historic average limit of 95,000 refugees per year”.
The executive director of Amnesty International in the United States, Margaret Huang, said that today they supported the refugees to “demand dignity, equality and equity”.
“It is time for the president to stop abusing his power to demonize people seeking security and for this country to receive refugees again,” added Huang, quoted in the note on the protest.
Former Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Anne C. Richard said the United States is a “moral leader” in refugee matters and stressed that each year they “renew the promise” on which this country was founded.
On September 26th, the U.S. government announced that it will receive 18,000 refugees in the next 12 months, the lowest number in decades, as part of a global strategy to address the immigration crisis that includes agreements with the countries of the North Central American Triangle.
The “refugee ceiling” imposed for fiscal year 2020 (which runs from October 2019 to September 2020) is a significant drop from the 30,000 admissions quota for fiscal year 2019 and from the 45,000 shelters granted in the previous period.
To justify its decision, the U.S. State Department said in a statement that at the “core of the foreign policy of the Trump Administration is the commitment to make decisions based on reality, not desires, and to drive optimal results based on concrete facts”.