Tags: Donald Trump | Homeland Security | Immigration | Trump Administration | Trump Refugee Ban | refugees | white house

Trump Lowers Refugee Cap to 45,000, Lowest Ever

Trump Lowers Refugee Cap to 45,000, Lowest Ever

By    |   Wednesday, 27 September 2017 06:55 PM

The White House announced Wednesday that President Donald Trump is lowering the cap on refugees admitted to the United States to 45,000 a year.

That is the lowest number since presidents began setting the cap in 1980, according to NPR.

The number was a compromise, The Hill reported, noting senior policy adviser Stephen Miller pushed for only 15,000. The State Department wanted a much higher figure: 50,000. And the Department of Homeland Security pushed for 40,000.

Trump chose to split the difference between the latter two suggestions.

Trump had previously cut the cap to 50,000 as part of his executive order restricting travel from several countries the administration said are supporters of terrorism. Critics claimed the ban was a backdoor effort at banning Muslims, since the countries listed all are majority Muslim.

The United States allowed 85,000 refugees to resettle in the country in 2016. President Barack Obama had set a goal of 110,000 in 2017.

Humanitarian groups were critical of the action.

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

"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.

But the White House argued the United States will continue to be "the largest refugee resettlement country in the world." And the president has argued the refugees can be helped more by keeping them close to their homelands.

The administration noted almost $3 billion in humanitarian assistance was given to refugees in Syria and Iraq last year. In addition, 19,000 refugees will be admitted next fiscal year from Africa and 17,500 from the Middle East and South Asia. Furthermore, up to 5,000 refugees will be admitted from East Asia, 2,000 from Europe, and 1,500 from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee were critical of the process, saying they were not adequately consulted, according to The Hill.

"We are incredibly frustrated that the annual consultation for refugee admissions, which is required by law, was finalized just one day in advance," Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a joint statement.

Grassley and Feinstein said it was "simply unacceptable" to read about the decision in the media before a meeting with Congress had even been scheduled.

"Since August, our offices have made bipartisan requests to the State Department on this meeting," they said. "Congress and the law require real engagement on this important subject. An 11th-hour meeting to check a legal box is not sufficient."

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The White House announced Wednesday that President Donald Trump is lowering the cap on refugees admitted to the United States to 45,000 a year.
refugees, white house, travel ban, immigrants
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 06:55 PM
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