The Trump administration on Wednesday proposed admitting a maximum of 45,000 refugees next year, the lowest cap in decades, which officials said was necessary to ensure US security, although Democrats and humanitarian groups blasted the decision as an abandonment of American moral authority, Reuters reports.
That figure is the lowest cap since the modern US refugee admissions system was established in 1980, and the administration’s decision was harshly criticized by refugee advocates who say it ignores growing humanitarian crises around the world. The report also projects slashing funding to the refugee resettlement program by 25 percent.
“The security and safety of the American people is our chief concern,” a US official said in a call with reporters on Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We have every plan to process as many refugees as we can under this ceiling.”
A second US official said the administration is considering a “wide range of potential measures and enhancements” to refugee vetting, in accordance with a January executive order from President Donald Trump, although the official gave no further details.
The lower refugee cap is a continuation of Trump’s hardline stance on immigration. He made the issue a focus during the presidential campaign, advocating for a wall along the US border with Mexico and the deportation of immigrants in the country illegally, and saying that Syrian refugees fleeing their country’s civil war present a security threat to the United States.
The proposed refugee limit represents a cut of more than half from the refugee ceiling set last year by former President Barack Obama, and is much lower than the 75,000 limit suggested by refugee advocates this year. It is also lower than the 50,000 cap Trump set in an executive order shortly after he took office in January.
The administration proposed taking in a maximum of 19,000 refugees from Africa, 5,000 from East Asia, 2,000 from Europe and Central Asia, 1,500 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 17,500 from the Middle East and South Asia.
Democratic Representatives John Conyers and Zoe Lofgren said the administration’s decision “is an abdication of our moral authority, and an abandonment of the very values that make America great.”
– Contact us at [email protected]