Trump and the Deepening Refugee Crisis

Trump and the Deepening Refugee Crisis

By Dyan Mazurana and Karen Jacobsen
December 9, 2016

War, persecution and natural disasters are wreaking havoc on communities across the globe. The world is currently facing the greatest need in a generation, with more than 96 million people requiring humanitarian assistance. We are grappling with the largest number of people displaced in human history, with 65.3 million forced to leave their homes, including 21.3 million refugees who now live in other countries. Crises of these proportions will require more, not less, humanitarian assistance and leadership from the United States.

Given all that, what can we expect when President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January? What might his new administration mean for the people, more than half of them children, who live in conflict zones like Syria, Iraq and Yemen, or have been forcibly displaced by armed conflict, or endure long and dangerous migrations?

To begin answering these questions, we can look to what Trump said during his campaign, when he sharply questioned the value of foreign aid. His “America first” rhetoric suggests that as president he is likely to promote cuts in humanitarian and development assistance. If that happens, there will be a number of consequences, chief among them that more women will die in conflict zones. Additionally, the international refugee crisis will only grow worse.

Throughout his campaign, Trump stressed the importance of helping Americans at home before taking care of others abroad. He has said that he wants to increase funding for the U.S. military and enact wide-ranging tax cuts, both of which would likely mean reduced funding for humanitarian and development response. His rhetoric indicates he is deeply suspicious of multilateral organizations such as the United Nations that play a paramount role in addressing humanitarian crises. He has also called for “ending the current strategy of nation building,” which could mean cutting back U.S. funding for health care, clean water and sanitation, education, and the rule of law in poor, fragile and conflict-affected countries.

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Photo-- BUDAPEST - SEPTEMBER 4 :Transit zone at the Keleti Railway Station for war refugees on 4 September 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Refugees are arriving constantly to Hungary on the way to Germany.— Photo by csakisti

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