April 26, 2018

Trump plans to set United States refugee cap at 45000

29 September 2017, 12:37 | Sheila Mcguire

Associated Press

Trump plans to slash US refugee admissions

Despite an Obama administration-set admissions limit of 110,000 for refugees coming into the USA during the current fiscal year, with just four days to go on Tuesday, the Trump administration had only allowed slightly more than 53,000.

"With historically high numbers of innocent people fleeing violence worldwide, the United States response can not be to welcome a historically low number of refugees into our country", Bill O'Keefe, vice president of Catholic Relief Services, told The Hill.

The Trump administration has slashed the number of refugees allowed in the more than half despite raging violence and worsening crises across the world.

The Department of Homeland Security recommended 40,000 people, but the State Department recommended 50,000.

Notably, this cap does not include an "unallocated reserve" quota for the administration to respond to unforeseen upticks in refugees, according to the CNN.

The Trump administration has made a decision to slash refugee intake next year to around 45,000. And 70-page proposal says the US government will use "additional methods", including "social media checks" to screen refugees before accepting them.

"With historically high numbers of innocent people fleeing violence worldwide, the United States response can not be to welcome a historically low number of refugees into our country", said Bill O'Keefe of Catholic Relief Services.

The new refugee ceiling is "tragic" and "misguided", according to Mindy Berkowitz, executive director of Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley in Los Gatos, one of just a few refugee resettlement agencies in Santa Clara County.

The Trump administration suggested taking 19,000 refugees from Africa, 17,500 from South Asia and the Middle East, 5,000 from East Asia, 2,000 from Europe and Central Asia, and 1,500 from Latin America. But the George W. Bush and Obama administrations accepted more than 45,000 every year since 2006. The new figure appears to be a compromise that Cabinet officials felt would be palatable to the president.

U.S. officials said they hoped to complete the review next month and announce new controls, but that arrivals next year will be reduced. Refugees remain outside the USA while their applications are considered; asylum applicants are filed by people who are already here. The 1980 Refugee Act, passed by overwhelming and bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate in 1980, created the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

"Of course we want to help refugees assimilate when they are here, but that's different from having to demonstrate that on your application", the anonymous Hill staffer who leaked the report told VICE News. "It's really moving away from the commitments the government has had for 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. The Obama administration raised the cap previous year, pledging to resettle 110,000 people, in a push to encourage other countries to do more in the Syrian crisis.

It is unclear if the administration will impose any restrictions on top of the cap after October 24. Germany has borne the brunt of the global refugee crisis, granting full refugee status or other protection to more than 1 million Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis, Eritreans and others since 2015.

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