Wednesday is World Refugee Day. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s statement marking the day is painful to read in light of the family separation crisis.
Wednesday is World Refugee Day, an international event designed to draw attention to the global refugee crisis. You might think that the US government might shy away from drawing attention to the event, given that it is currently taking children away from migrants fleeing violence and poverty at the US-Mexican border.
But you would be wrong. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a World Refugee Day statement so tone-deaf that it would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.
“We join the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and our international partners in commemorating the strength, courage, and resilience of refugees worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes due to persecution or conflict,” the secretary begins, as if the Trump administration were not detaining and deporting Central American parents who were fleeing precisely these conditions.
“We will continue to help the world’s most vulnerable refugees, reflecting the deeply held values of the American people,” Pompeo writes, as if the Trump administration were not taking migrant children from their parents and holding them in makeshift detention camps.
“The United States also maintains a steadfast commitment to getting lifesaving support to Syrians,” he writes, as if Trump’s travel ban executive orders did not explicitly bar Syrians from entering the United States.
And it’s worth noting, as a little cherry on top, that the Trump administration has admitted only 18,000 refugees in the first eight months of fiscal year — a historically low number. By comparison, the Obama administration admitted more than five times as many refugees (98,000) in 2016.
You can read the full statement below, if you can stomach it: