Trump administration to cut refugee admissions to 30K for 2019

Trump administration to cut refugee admissions to 30K for 2019

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump ultimatum sparks fears of new arms race Paul calls Trump's pick for attorney general's views on surveillance 'very troubling' Focus on Yemen, not the Saudi crown prince MORE announced Monday that the Trump administration will cap the number of refugees that can be resettled in the United States at 30,000 for fiscal 2019.

The new figure represents another dramatic reduction in the number of refugees that the U.S. plans to admit. Trump slashed the cap to a historic low of 45,000 in September 2017.

In remarks at the State Department, Pompeo announced that the U.S. expects to process up to 30,000 refugees and 280,000 asylum seekers in fiscal 2019.

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The dramatic reduction in refugee admissions is likely to prompt renewed scrutiny of the administration’s immigration policies. On Monday, Pompeo stressed that the proposed figure “must be considered in the context of the many other forms of protection and assistance offered by the United States.”

“Moreover, the refugee numbers should not be viewed in isolation from other expansive humanitarian programs,” Pompeo continued. “Some will characterize the refugee ceiling as the sole barometer of America’s commitment to vulnerable people around the world. This would be wrong.”

Pompeo cited national security as a major factor in setting the new refugee ceiling, describing the previous asylum system as “defective” in not properly vetting foreign nationals for potential terrorist ties or other security risks. He also stressed the need to return “integrity” to the overall U.S. asylum system.

“The improved refugee policy of this administration serves the national interest of the United States,” Pompeo said. “We are and continue to be the most generous nation in the world.” 

The Trump administration announced last September that it would cap the number of refugee admissions at 45,000. That decision reportedly came after a heated internal battle, with White House adviser Stephen Miller pushing for a cap of only 15,000. 

Humanitarian groups have long argued that Trump’s policies fail to address the global refugee crisis heightened by the persistent civil war in Syria and other conflicts around the world.