September 20, 2021

Trump administration imposes 18K limit on refugees, the lowest ever | TheHill


The Trump administration on Thursday proposed slashing refugee admissions to 18,000 for fiscal year 2020, marking a record low total.

The Trump administration last year set the refugee cap at 30,000. The administration has made curbing the number of migrants entering the country a priority.

The Departments of State, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services submitted the proposed refugee admissions for fiscal year 2020 in a report to Congress on Thursday. 

The Trump administration said it was necessary to reduce the number of refugee admissions in order to focus on addressing the flow of migrants at the U.S. southern border with Mexico. 

“The United States has always been and will always remain the most generous nation in the world when it comes to welcoming those in need of humanitarian protection, including refugees, asylees, and victims of trafficking,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan in a statement.

“The Administration’s proposal for refugee admissions in Fiscal Year 2020 will allow the Department of Homeland Security to focus on addressing the ongoing crisis at the southern border, reducing a staggering asylum backlog that unfairly delays relief for those with meritorious claims, and completing more overall cases in an increasingly multifaceted humanitarian workload,” McAleenan said. 

The Trump administration has steadily slashed the number of refugees it has admitted into the U.S., reflecting its desire to limit the number of immigrants entering the country. Trump proposed capping the number of refugees at 45,000 in his first year in office, then reduced that number to 30,000 in last year’s proposal.

The New York Times reported earlier this month that the administration was looking to reduce the cap to between 10,000 and 15,000, with immigration hawk and senior White House adviser Stephen MillerStephen MillerOvernight Defense: Trump hits Iranian central bank with sanctions | Trump meeting with Ukrainian leader at UN | Trump touts relationship with North Korea’s Kim as ‘best thing’ for US California trip shows Trump doesn’t always hate the media Trump court pick sparks frustration for refusing to answer questions MORE advocating for drastic cuts.

Rumors of a significant reduction had drawn condemnation from Democrats. 

According to the State Department, the administration expects to receive over 368,000 new refugees and asylum claims in fiscal year 2020. Of those, the administration proposes admitting 18,000 refugees that would be resettled under the new refugee ceiling. The department also said officials anticipate processing over 350,000 individuals in new asylum cases.

“At the core of the Trump Administration’s foreign policy is a commitment to make decisions based on reality, not wishes, and to drive optimal outcomes based on concrete facts,” said a statement from the office of State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus. 

“The current burdens on the U.S. immigration system must be alleviated before it is again possible to resettle large number of refugees.  Prioritizing the humanitarian protection cases of those already in our country is simply a matter of fairness and common sense,” the statement said.

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Morgan Chalfant and Brett Samuels
The Hill