Trump administration reduces number of refugees allowed to resettle in US

Anita Tucker
September 29, 2017

Drawing outcry from humanitarian and refugee aid groups, President Donald Trump's administration formally proposed Wednesday slashing the number of refugees allowed into the United States to its lowest level in decades.

For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, he said, the U.S. can assist more than 10 migrants in their home regions.

A US government official told reporters on Wednesday that, regarding the new refugee resettlement numbers, "the security and safety of the American people is our chief concern", and that refugee resettlement is "only one part of the United States response to the crisis of forced displacement around the world".

"Those are the people that the USA programme really rescues", said Richard, a former assistant secretary for refugees and migration at the State Department. The State Department report said there are now almost 300,000 asylum applications pending with DHS.

Former President Barack Obama wanted to admit 110,000 refugees in the fiscal year that ends at the end of the month, but admissions slowed dramatically after Trump took action to halt the entire resettlement program.

The report said that in arriving at the cap, the administration took into account prospective refugees who had been interviewed but not yet arrived in the US, historical data, and an analysis of the government's staffing needs and screening abilities. The figure represents the maximum number of refugees the USA would be willing to accept.

The Obama administration set a 110,000 refugee target.

Administration officials planned to inform senior lawmakers of the decision yesterday, according to the officials, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorised to pre-empt a formal announcement.

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"If you enter the USA on an global flight from anywhere in the world and there's a refugee family or individual on that aircraft, that individual is the most thoroughly vetted individual on that aircraft", added Michael Breen, president and CEO of the Truman National Security Project.

The lower refugee cap is a continuation of Trump's hardline stance on immigration.

While refugee advocates are disappointed in the Trump administration cap, security analysts say the tougher screening - particularly for Syrians - is a necessity.

Immigration law requires the administration to submit the refugee report to Congress before the start of each fiscal year, and then consult with top members of relevant committees prior to the start of the fiscal year on October 1. The report said officials expect to have a backlog of more than 300,000 such cases early in fiscal year 2018.

1980, the US was instrumental in the resettling of at least 200,000 refugees from across the world.

"It's really moving away from the commitments the government has had for the protections of refugees from both Republican and Democratic administrations", he said. And top White House advisers, including Stephen Miller, argued for a much lower cap in the first place.

"Since our nation's tragic failure to help Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler, we have set an example for the world by providing safe haven to the world's most vulnerable people", Illinois's Sen.

Although Trump continues to struggle with Congress over support for his legislative agenda, limiting refugee flow is one of the areas in which he has free reign to meaningfully deliver to his base.

Other reports by My Hot News

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