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‘Catastrophic,’ ‘beyond shameful,’ and ‘xenophobia-fueled’ Trump administration panned over proposal to slash refugee cap to zero

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“An admissions goal of zero would be another low in a global race to the bottom”

Human rights advocates said the Trump administration would be making a “catastrophic” and “grave error” if it followed through on a newly-reported proposal to slash refugee admissions to zero next year.

“It is beyond shameful and a new low, even for this administration, to even consider accepting no refugees to the U.S.,” said Ryan Mace, grassroots advocacy and refugee specialist for Amnesty International USA.

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Politico first reported on the recommendation late Thursday, citing three unnamed sources familiar with the proposal.

According to the news outlet,

During a key meeting of security officials on refugee admissions last week, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS] representative who is closely aligned with White House immigration adviser Stephen Miller suggested setting a cap at zero, the people said. Homeland Security Department officials at the meeting later floated making the level anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000, according to one of the people.

Even the highest figure would be a fraction of the record-low 30,000 limit on refugees the Trump administration set for 2019, a decision that also drew sharp condemnation.

Among the roughly 20 individuals at last week’s meeting, Politico reported, were USCIS official John Zadrozny and Andrew Vepre, who serves as deputy assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. The presence of the two during the meeting, the reporting continued, “speaks to the influence of Miller over the Trump administration’s immigration agenda. Both are viewed as proxies for the president’s hard-line adviser.”

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News of the potentially dramatic slashing came the same week as the administration—in a move blasted as “deliberate cruelty”—issued a new policy targeting asylum-seekers. Already the subject of a lawsuit, the rule bans people who travel through another country before reaching the U.S.-Mexico from being eligible for asylum, which some viewed as an effective ban on asylum-seekers.

Scott Roehm, director of the Center for Victims of Torture’s Washington, D.C., office, referenced both developments in a statement on Thursday.

“The president and some of his senior advisers simply don’t want refugees to come to the United States, whether through the resettlement program or as asylum-seekers,” he said. “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.”

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News of the potential zero cap on refugees in 2020 also came under fire from the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

“If confirmed,” said Hans Van de Weerd, vice president for resettlement, asylum, and integration at IRC, “this decision is catastrophic.”

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“An admissions goal of zero would be another low in a global race to the bottom led by an administration that has introduced travel bans, illegal asylum procedures, family separations, child detention, and is now proposing to abandon a rich American tradition of providing safety and opportunity,” Van de Weerd said. “These policies have caused unspeakable suffering for people most in need of protection.”

“It is imperative that the United States avoids this grave error,” he added.

To make that happen, Amnesty’s Mace called on lawmakers and constituents alike to take action.

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“We call on every member of Congress and their community to speak out for those seeking safety,” he said, “and welcome refugees into their neighborhoods, schools, houses of worship, and homes.”

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A censure compromise is the GOP’s best option – but Trump is making it impossible: conservative columnist

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In an op-ed for the conservative outlet The Bulwark, Benjamin Parker argues that when it comes to censure as a "compromise" to impeachment, that potential compromise is a model that President Trump himself has taken off the table.

Just like during the Bill Clinton era, party members leading the impeachment effort know that they won't get the Senate votes to convict. "The censure compromise was an effort by the president’s defenders to end the impeachment process early. It failed in 1998 because Republicans were determined to demonstrate their fidelity to the rule of law and to enforce a high standard of conduct for public officials," Parker writes, adding that Democrats today find themselves in a similar position. "At this point, Trump’s defenders should be suggesting a censure measure as a possible compromise just as Democrats did in 1998. ... Even if a compromise on censure appears unreachable, the Republicans should make the offer on the off chance that it works."

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Fresno Bee burns Nunes to the ground in scathing editorial

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The editorial board of the Fresno Bee has written a scathing takedown of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) for his extraordinary fealty to President Donald Trump, which the editors say is harming the country.

Specifically, the editorial accuses Nunes of forsaking his oath of office as a congressman to serve as Trump's most loyal toady on the House Intelligence Committee.

"As has been true for nearly all of Trump’s first term, Nunes has relinquished his proper role as an independent representative of Congress and has instead acted like a member of the Trump 2020 re-election team," the editorial states.

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‘Don’t mess with me’: Pelosi’s presser ends with a bang as she blasts reporter for asking if she ‘hates’ Trump

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi strongly rebuked a reporter who asked whether she hated President Donald Trump.

The California Democrat announced Thursday morning that she had asked Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler to draft articles of impeachment, and she then announced that the committee would hear evidence in the case in a hearing Monday.

"Ukraine was the vehicle of the president's actions (but) this isn't about Ukraine," Pelosi said. "This is about Russians. Who benefited? Who benefited from that holding that military assistance?"

"All roads lead to Putin," she added. "Understand that."

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