Trump Admin Defends New Refugee Cap Of 45000 In Coming Year

IRC Responds to Reports of a Record-Low Presidential Determination

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is disturbed by this morning's reports that the Trump Administration is set to cap the annual admissions ceiling for refugees at 45,000.

Officials said they plan to complete a review of security procedures for vetting new arrivals by next month, but arrivals next year will be reduced. Africa will receive the largest allotment, of 19,000 refugees.

"We want to make sure that this is a secure process and that no one is allowed through that might endanger the security of America", one official told reporters, pointing to new vetting procedures the administration has already implemented as well as future ones that are being considered under an ongoing 120-day review that ends October 24.

In his two travel ban executive orders, Trump directed the United States to accept a maximum of 50,000 refugees for permanent resettlement in the fiscal 2017 year ending September 30, less than half the 110,000 President Barack Obama authorized.

But the effort stalled after President Donald Trump took office and signed an executive order temporarily halting refugee admissions.

In part because of court challenges to those orders, the United States ultimately accepted more than 50,000 refugees during the current fiscal year.

Trump, however, campaigned against increasing refugee admissions, arguing that it presented a risk to national security. According to State Department data, the United States took in 51,392 refugees through August. The Homeland Security Department's recommendation was slightly lower, according to the Journal.

The officials who briefed reporters on Wednesday emphasized that the United States remains the world's leading donor of humanitarian assistance, and leads in permanent resettlement of refugees (with a very slight edge over Canada).

One resettlement group, the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said in a statement they were "profoundly disappointed that at a time of historic, never before seen need, the United States would so drastically reduce the number of refugees to whom we are able to offer protection and safety".

Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, for example, have taken in millions of refugees from neighboring Syria, while in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel's government has taken in a million refugees since 2015. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was on Capitol Hill Wednesday evening to consult the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, so Trump's decision must wait until after that.

"It didn't have to be this number", she said.

The Trump administration has confirmed that the US will set a limit of 45,000 refugees for the next fiscal year -- a drop from Trump's 50,000 cap last year and the 110,000 that Obama pledged the USA would take in during his final months in office.

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