The Trump administration said late Wednesday it wants to cut the number of refugees admitting into the United States to 15,000 in fiscal year 2021, which begins Thursday.
The figure represents the latest in a series of annual cuts since President Donald Trump took office in 2017.
In 2020, the administration put the cap at 18,000, and the United States allowed 10,892 refugees into the country before putting the program on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.
That was the fewest since the modern refugee program was approved by Congress in 1980. The annual cap during the administration of President Barack Obama was between 70,000 and 85,000.
The State Department said Trump’s 2021 proposal “reaffirms America’s enduring commitment to assist the world’s most vulnerable people while fulfilling our first duty to protect and serve the American people.”
Krish Vignarajah, president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a federally funded agency charged with resettling refugees in the United States, said the decision to further limit the number of refugee admissions “is a complete abdication of our moral duty and all that we stand for as a nation.”