Greg Kepferle and Francis Bencik of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara, discuss the drop in refugees resettling in the Bay Area.

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Bay Area Experiencing 'All-Time Low' Of Refugee Resettlement

Mike Colgan
September 26, 2018 - 11:22 am

 SAN JOSE — Thousands of refugees have been resettled in the Bay Area over the years, but those day are over, according to support groups. 

In 2018, President Trump capped the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. at 45,000, down from nearly 85,000 in 2016. The tightened restrictions has led the numbers of people who've arrived in the Bay Area to fall dramatically.

The Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley helped settle 18 refugees in the 2018 fiscal year, which ends September 30, compared to 99 integrated into the region last year. 

It's a similar story at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara, which only has resettled 28 individuals compared to 60 last year.

"This is definitely the all-time low of  refugee resettlement numbers in the last 40 or so years," said Frances Bencik, the group's Program Manager for Refugee Integration.

With 65 million refugees around the world, one of the highest numbers since World War Two, Catholic Charities CEO Greg Kepferle said it's unconscionable to deny entry to people escaping violence and persecution. 

"This is not the time to turn our backs on people who are fleeing for their lives," said Kepferle. 

The drop in the Bay Area appears to be true across the state. California accepted 1,300 refugees in 2018, compared to 5,164 in 2017, according to the California Department of Social Services.

Further reductions are possible. President Trump has proposed limiting the number of refugees allowed in to the United States in 2019 to 30,000.

Written by Diana Shook