- The Trump administration announced last month it will slash its refugee cap for the upcoming year to just 30,000.
- But it’s possible that far fewer people will be accepted.
- Though the current year’s cap was 45,000 refugees, the US accepted fewer than half that amount.
- The US has been steadily decreasing the number of refugees it accepts since President Donald Trump first took office in 2017.
The Trump administration accepted just 22,491 refugees in the 2018 fiscal year even though it set the cap at 45,000, State Department data shows.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced last month the Trump administration would slash the annual refugee cap to 30,000 for the 2019 fiscal year. The US has been steadily reducing the number of refugees it accepts since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.
Though the Obama administration had set the annual refugee cap at 110,000 for that fiscal year, the Trump administration admitted only 53,000 people.
Similarly, the Trump administration set the cap at 45,000 for the 2018 fiscal year, which ends September 30. But after 11 months, it has accepted just under 20,000, State Department data show.
Trump’s not the only president who has accepted far fewer refugees than the annual cap allows, but his 2018 and 2019 caps both set record lows when they were announced – no president has set the cap lower since the Refugee Act was enacted in 1980.
Here’s what US refugee admissions look like over the past two decades:
Pompeo said the reduction for 2019 is due in part to the backlog of hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers who are already in the US, waiting for federal judges to hear their immigration cases.
But refugee advocates have decried this rationale, arguing that asylum-seekers are an entirely different category of immigrants and have no bearing on the refugee program.
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