Trump administration sets refugee admissions at historic low

By Yeganeh Torbati and Steve Holland

President Donald Trump is to cap admissions of refugees at 45,000 in 2018, USA officials confirmed on Wednesday, in what will be a record low of any president since records began more than three decades ago.

It will overlap with President Donald Trump's previous immigration executive order, which might still be headed for a Supreme Court challenge. Also, asylum applicants who meet threshold criteria are allowed to wait inside the us while their applications are considered, while refugees are often living in desperate conditions.

State Department officials would have been inclined to set their recommendation higher, several of the people said, but were taking their cues from the president's executive order and felt that 50,000 was the highest number that would be palatable to him.

Notably, this cap does not include an "unallocated reserve" quota for the administration to respond to unforeseen upticks in refugees, according to the CNN.

Still, Trump's stated hostility to accepting refugees and opposition among others in his administration mean the USA may not intend to fill all 45,000 slots in the 2018 fiscal year that starts Sunday. "It's tragic", said Mr Robert Carey, former director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement under former president Barack Obama.

Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of Catholic aid groups that serve those in need on the ground in countries around the world, began an global "Share the Journey" campaign on Wednesday, inviting Catholics to hear the stories of migrants and refugees, welcome them into their communities, and advocate for policies that would support migrants seeking a better life.

The limit, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, is the lowest any White House has sought since 1980, the year that legislation was enacted to give the president a role in determining a cap on refugees.

"Refugee resettlement agencies are disappointed with the 45,000 cap, which they say falls far short of what's necessary to meet growing humanitarian needs around the world".

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The new cap is the lowest in decades for the U.S. refugee admission program and marks an especially steep decline from recent years.

Africa will receive the largest allotment of 19,000 refugees, or 42 per cent of the total.

Turkey hosts as many as three million refugees, and Lebanon hosts more than a million, many of them Syrian nationals. "It's really moving away from the commitments the government has had for protections of refugees from both Republican and Democratic administrations", he said.

In Turkey, nearly three million people are now living as refugees, compared to only 227,000 in total in the United States, according to UN statistics.

Resettlement is the careful selection and relocation by governments, such as the United States, of vulnerable refugees who've already been granted asylum by another country.

In recent years, the number of refugees admitted has closely matched the cap, though there have been times, particularly during the George W. Bush administration, when admissions were well below the maximum.

It is unclear if the administration will impose any restrictions on top of the cap after October 24.

Although Trump continues to struggle with Congress over support for his legislative agenda, limiting refugee flow is one of the areas in which he has free reign to meaningfully deliver to his base.

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