President Trump will set the number of refugees allowed into the U.S. next year to 30,000, the lowest ever, according to the New York Times. The refugee cap for this year was 45,000, which was already a dramatic cut from the average of 75,000 under the Obama administration. Obama, rather than setting a ceiling, set a goal of admitting 110,000 refugees in 2017.
From the Times:
Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, announced the limit at the State Department, saying it reflected the “daunting operational reality” of addressing what he called a “humanitarian crisis” involving people claiming asylum in the United States.
This cut was still not as dramatic as what was requested by Trump senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, who pushed for a limit as low as 25,000. That’s actually higher than the number actually admitted in 2018, which the International Rescue Committee says will not top 22,000.
“Some will characterize the refugee ceiling as the full barometer of America’s commitment to vulnerable people around the world,” Pompeo said in a press conference at the White House. “This would be wrong.”
Trump planned to cut billions of dollars in foreign aid this summer, before members of Congress pushed back on the proposal. Those cuts would have included $200 million earmarked for Syria, the locus of the current refugee crisis. Earlier in September, a report from NBC revealed that the Trump administration ignored a government report that said refugees were not a security threat.
“This year’s refugee ceiling reflects the substantial increase in the number of individuals seeking asylum in our country, contributing to a massive backlog of outstanding asylum cases and greater public expense,” Pompeo said. So, the logic here goes that because there is a higher demand for refugee resettlement, we should limit the number of refugees further. Makes sense.