Trump Caps Refugee Resettlement At 45000, Marking All-Time Low

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White House Plans to Set Refugee Cap at 45000 for Next Fiscal Year. Lowest since caps - Wall Street Journal

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 USA security, although Democrats and humanitarian groups blasted the decision as an abandonment of American moral authority. The number of refugees ultimately resettled in that fiscal year is a result of subsequent negotiations between Congress, which authorizes the budget expenditures for the refugee admissions program, and the Administration.

In the report, which was required by law to be transmitted to congressional judiciary committees and was obtained by CNN, the administration says it will work with the United Nations' refugee agency "to ensure that, in addition to referrals of refugees with compelling protection needs, referrals may also take into account certain criteria that enhance a refugee's likelihood of successful assimilation and contribution to the United States".

The former official, who favored a higher number, said the decision will undermine the USA ability to persuade nations such as Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon that have accepted huge flows of Syrian refugees to keep admitting them as well as to convince donor nations to keep up financial contributions for refugees.

They said new screening and admittance requirements for refugees will be announced later, as a six-month review, ordered by Mr Trump near the start of his presidency, draws to a close. And the Department of Homeland Security pushed for 40,000. The State Department wanted a much higher figure: 50,000.

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No more than 45,000 refugees will be allowed into the country over the coming year under the new plan, less than half the number proposed by the Obama administration for the current fiscal year. A year ago, former President Barack Obama said the US would accept as many as 110,000 refugees in 2017. An Iranian LGBT refugee living in Turkey, he began the interview process with the November 2016. "When president Obama increased the number dramatically Republicans said they didn't want that but the consultation process didn't give them any authority to stop it", he said.

"Churches and communities, employers, and mayors, are heartsick at the administration's callous and tragic decision to deny welcome to refugees most in need", Linda Hartke, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, told NPR. The strong preference among aid groups and governments has been to seek conditions so refugees can return to their homes, rather than being permanently resettled in host countries.

The caps set a top limit, and the USA does not always reach the cap.

Trump is considering bringing his 50,000 refugee cap even lower for 2018.

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Trump and his policy adviser Stephen Miller have spoken forcefully in favor of "merit-based immigration", a system that evaluates would-be new Americans based on what they have to offer the US. The UNHCR referred more than 90 percent of refugees for resettlement to the U.S., Australia and Canada in 2016, according to the report. In a proposal submitted late last week, the department called for a reduction to 40,000 refugees in the next budget year starting October 1, citing concerns about its workload and ability to adequately vet those seeking entry.

Even if the cap is ultimately hit, it would reflect the lowest admissions level for the United States in more than a decade.

Trump has already slashed refugee admissions once since taking office.

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