By Gina Martinez
June 20, 2018

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a statement on World Refugee Day Wednesday in which he said the U.S. would continue to help the world’s most vulnerable refugees – as the Trump Administration faces growing backlash over its policy of separating immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Pompeo praised the “strength, courage and resilience of millions of refugees worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes due to persecution and conflict” in his World Refugee Day statement.

The statement comes at a time when the Trump Administration is facing growing criticism for its “zero tolerance” immigration policy that has resulted in U.S. Border Patrol agents separating children from their parents when they are caught at the U.S. Mexico border. The children are then placed in shelters overseen by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. The policy has resulted in nearly 2,000 minors being separated from their families over six weeks, and is drawing strong criticism from both sides of the aisle.

In the statement, Pompeo says that since 1975, the United States has accepted more than 3.3 million refugees for permanent resettlement – more than any other country in the world.

“The United States will continue to prioritize the admission of the most vulnerable refugees while upholding the safety and security of the American people,” the statement read. “The United States provides more humanitarian assistance than any other single country worldwide, including to refugees.”

Read Pompeo’s Full Statement Below:

Write to Gina Martinez at gina.martinez@time.com.

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