CVT Condemns Threat of Zero Refugee Admissions Next Year | Center for Victims of Torture

CVT Condemns Threat of Zero Refugee Admissions Next Year

Thursday, July 18, 2019

ST. PAUL, Minn. & WASHINGTON — The Center for Victims of TortureTM (CVT) today responded to reports that the Trump administration is considering zeroing out the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program in fiscal year 2020:

“The president and some of his senior advisors simply don’t want refugees to come to the United States, whether through the resettlement program or as asylum seekers. This is not about safety, or security, or economics; it’s xenophobia-fueled politics. Closing our doors to some of the world’s most vulnerable people, many of them torture survivors, is as un-American as it is appalling,” said Scott Roehm, director of CVT’s Washington, D.C., office.

The Trump administration has already set the two lowest annual refugee admissions goals in U.S. history: 45,000 in fiscal year 2018 (of which less than half were actually resettled), and 30,000 this fiscal year. Reports of internal discussions about zeroing out refugee admissions entirely come directly on the heels of a new, plainly unlawful, federal regulation issued by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security that bars asylum for any asylum applicant—including unaccompanied children—who seeks protection at the southern border and has transited through a third country. 

According to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, based on research conducted by CVT, approximately 44 percent of resettled refugees, asylees and asylum seekers living in the United States are torture survivors. Given such a high torture prevalence rate among these populations, there is no doubt that certain of the administration’s policies are resulting in the return of  survivors to situations where they are at serious risk of being tortured again—in violation of U.S. obligations under the Convention against Torture—or of suffering other forms of persecution and violence.


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]

Media Contact

Pam McCurdy
Media Relations Strategist
pmccurdy [at]




We heal victims of torture through unique services and professional care worldwide.

Read More


We strengthen partners who heal torture survivors and work to prevent torture.

Read More


We advocate for the protection & care of torture survivors and an end to torture.

Read More