Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Trump administration cutting number of new refugees to 4-decade low

Trump administration cutting number of new refugees to 4-decade low

The Trump administration is proposing a cap of 30,000 refugee admissions in the 2019 fiscal year, according to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in what would be the lowest cap ever set in the refugee admissions program's 43-year history.

He also said that the 30,000 figure "is a cap, not a floor", meaning the USA might let in fewer than that and noted that even with the cap set at 45,000 for 2018, the Trump administration had admitted less than half that number (21,000) with the fiscal year just two weeks from being over.

In addition to the above efforts, the total U.S. humanitarian assistance worldwide was more than eight billion dollars in fiscal year 2017, more than any other country, Pompeo said. The announcement comes despite calls from global humanitarian groups that this year's cap of 45,000 was too low.

"Some will characterize the refugee ceiling as the sole barometer of America's commitment to vulnerable people around the world", he said in remarks at the State Department.

"In consideration of both USA national security interest and the urgent need to restore integrity to our overwhelmed asylum system, the United States will focus on addressing the humanitarian protection cases of those already in the country", he said.

"The improved refugee policy of this administration serves the national interest of the United States, and expands our ability to help those in need all around the world", according to a statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The administration secured a win for its refugee and immigration policy this summer when Trump's travel ban on people from Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria and Venezuela was upheld by the Supreme Court.

Refugee resettlement to the USA from countries with known Islamic terrorist problems has greatly dropped, according to Reuters. However, only a fraction of that number were actually allowed in. For example, about 250 Somali refugees have been resettled. Yet, according to resettlement agencies in the United States, the U.S. vetting process is one of the world's toughest.

Pressed repeatedly to say whether UNHCR was disappointed by the announcement by the US, its biggest donor and the world's top recipient of refugees, Spindler declined to answer. Of the 3 million refugees admitted to the USsince 1975, not one has been arrested for carrying out a lethal terror attack on USA soil, according to resettlement agencies. During a tragic moment, the administration still recognized the importance of strong US support for refugee protection. It will be the lowest ceiling since the refugee program began in 1980.

The Trump administration added requirements, including longer background checks and more screenings for females and males between 14 and 50 from certain countries, including Iraq.

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