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Grassley, Feinstein: Congress Requires More Thorough Engagement with State Dept. on Refugee Numbers

WASHINGTON – Leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee today expressed frustration with the little notice and lack of engagement from the State Department ahead of a legally-required annual consultation with Congress on the number of refugees to be admitted in the upcoming year. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) issued the following statement after a meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to discuss the number of refugees who would be admitted into the United States in 2018:
“We are incredibly frustrated that the annual consultation for refugee admissions, which is required by law, was finalized just one day in advance. It is simply unacceptable to read in the press that the administration had reached its decision on the refugee cap before the mandated meeting with Congress had even been scheduled. Since August, our offices have made bipartisan requests to the State Department on this meeting. Congress and the law require real engagement on this important subject. An eleventh-hour meeting to check a legal box is not sufficient.”
Federal law requires an in-person consultation with Congress by a cabinet official before any presidential determination can be issued. Though the consultation hadn’t been scheduled until Tuesday afternoon, the media had already reported on the administration’s plan to cap the number of refugees at 45,000 for fiscal year 2018. The consultation took place Wednesday afternoon with leaders of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.