Trump Administration Will Cap Refugee Acceptance at Just 18,000

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The State Department has announced that President Trump will slash the number of refugees the U.S. admits to just 18,000 in the next year, down from the current cap of 30,000.

In 2016, then-President Barack Obama said that the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. should be 110,000, much higher than the current cap. But the Trump administration has predictably decided instead to slash the number almost in half, a move that obviously greatly diminishes the U.S.’s global role as a haven for refugees. According to the New York Times, the number may in actuality be even lower than 18,000:

Even that low figure may overstate the number of slots that could be open for unanticipated crises, since many of the openings have been allocated. The Trump administration will reserve 4,000 refugee slots for Iraqis who worked with the United States military, 1,500 for people from Central America and 5,000 for people persecuted for their religion, senior administration officials said. The additional 7,500 slots are for those who are seeking family unification and have been cleared for resettlement.”

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The administration says the move is intended to prevent the U.S. from accepting more refugees than officials are capable of performing background checks on, though authorities were fully capable of processing nearly 30,000 refugees this year:

President Trump is prioritizing the safety and security of the American people by making sure we do not admit more people than we can vet,’ the administration said Thursday evening.”

In addition to the cap, Trump recently signed an executive order stating that state and local governments must give written consent to the federal government before accepting refugees. Stephen Miller and the rest of the Trump administration have made no secret of the fact that both of these measures are intended to stop those attempting to enter the country via the Mexican border:

Mr. Miller and his allies in the administration argue that the drastic reduction of the refugee program is required because of the increase in the number of asylum seekers trying to enter the United States at the Mexican border.”

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The restrictions also ensure that migrant detention centers will remain open (and provide a multi-billion dollar business opportunity for companies operating the camps), separating families and subjecting those detained to abhorrent conditions, which seems like it is probably their intended purpose:

The shockingly low refugee admissions goal and the executive order will all but ensure that people in need of safety will be left in dangerous conditions and separated from their families,’ said Betsy Fisher, the director of strategy for the International Refugee Assistance Project. ‘These policies will prevent refugees from being resettled, even though communities across the nation stand ready to welcome them.’

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