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Grassley: Administration Ignoring Its Statutory Obligations on Refugee Consultation

WASHINGTON –Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today lambasted the lack of engagement from the State Department on legally-required annual consultation with Congress about the number of refugees admitted in the upcoming year. Grassley issued the following statement after yesterday’s State Department announcement of a new refugee cap.
“While I appreciate the administration’s commitment to protecting national security and public safety by proposing a refugee cap, which accounts for the need to conduct adequate and thorough screenings of all who seek this benefit, it is imperative the agencies abide by their statutory mandate to consult with Congress before any number is proposed. Yet, for the second year in a row, the administration has willfully ignored its statutory mandate to inform and consult with Congress, including designated members of both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, about the number of refugees to be admitted during the next fiscal year.
“Despite significant bipartisan and bicameral outreach from Congress to the Departments of State, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services, yesterday the State Department announced the 2019 refugee numbers at a public press briefing before consulting with Congress. It is clear by the administration’s action that Congress should take action to ensure the required discussions occur in the future.”
Federal law requires an in-person consultation with Congress by a cabinet official before any presidential determination can be issued. Last year, Grassley and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also rebuked the administration for a lack of consultation ahead of the annual refugee cap announcement.