The Center for Victims of Torture Reaffirms Support for Refugees as President Trump Confirms All-Time Low Refugee Admissions | Center for Victims of Torture

The Center for Victims of Torture Reaffirms Support for Refugees as President Trump Confirms All-Time Low Refugee Admissions

Saturday, November 2, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. & WASHINGTON — The Center for Victims of TortureTM (CVT) commits to intensifying its efforts on behalf of refugees as the Trump administration has confirmed it will limit the number of refugees to be admitted to the U.S. in Fiscal Year 2020 to 18,000, less than 20 percent of the historic average and the lowest admissions goal ever.

“Refugees have the right to seek safety in another country,” said Curt Goering, CVT executive director. “This is not a right that can be withdrawn by an administration in a capricious attempt to bring an end to the resettlement program. Refugees are fleeing war, persecution and, far more frequently than is commonly known, torture. In fact, CVT’s research shows that as many as 44 percent of refugees living in the United States have survived torture. Many refugees are survivors of unimaginable horror—at CVT, we know the extraordinary lengths survivors have gone through in order to escape immediate threat and undertake a dangerous journey to safety.”

The tragedy of dropping refugee admissions to a mere 18,000 is exacerbated by the way in which the administration intends to allocate those precious slots. For example, unlike years past, the administration’s plan makes no mention of resettlement from many regions of the world where refugee crises are most acute, like Syria, or Burma, or any country in Africa.

What is more, the decision came on the heels of the president suddenly withdrawing U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, a move that has been met with scathing bipartisan opposition. 

“It is unfathomable that the President of the United States would put millions of Syrian refugees at imminent risk—by greenlighting President Erdoğan’s plan to push them out of Turkey in the course of an effort to slaughter our Kurdish allies—while at the same time shutting the United States’ doors to those same Syrian refugees,” said Scott Roehm, director of CVT’s Washington, D.C., office.

Of course, effectively ending the U.S. refugee admissions program does damage inside the United States as well.

“In Georgia, where CVT has a healing center, refugees have been making important social, cultural and economic contributions to the state for more than 40 years. They play a vital role in the state’s key industries, from manufacturing to hospitality, and contribute significant tax revenues. Georgians donate thousands of volunteer hours each year to welcome refugees into their communities. Loss of refugee admissions in Georgia will impact the state in ways that will continue to be felt for many years,” said Darlene Lynch, head of external relations for CVT Atlanta.

Congress should respond to the president’s cruel and irresponsible decision by passing the GRACE Act, which would take away his authority—and that of any future president—to make a similarly damaging determination going forward. The GRACE Act would set the annual refugee admissions level at no less than 95,000—the historic norm.


The Center for Victims of Torture is a nonprofit organization headquartered in St. Paul, MN, with offices in Atlanta, GA, and Washington, D.C.; and healing initiatives in Africa

and the Middle East. Visit


Jenni Bowring-McDonough
jbowring [at]
612 436-4886

Media Contact

Jenni Bowring-McDonough
Media Relations Manager
+1 612-436-4886 (office) or +1 651-226-3858 (mobile)
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