US to Sharply Cut Cap on Refugees to 30,000 for 2019
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday the United States would cap the number of refugees allowed into the country at 30,000 for fiscal year 2019, a sharp drop from a limit of 45,000 it set for 2018.
"We proposed resettling up to 30,000 refugees under the new refugee ceiling as well as processing more than 280,000 asylum seekers," Pompeo said in an announcement at the State Department.
"These expansive figures continue the United States' long-standing record as the most generous nation in the world when it comes to protection-based immigration and assistance," he said.
The refugee ceiling set last year of 45,000 was the lowest since 1980, when the modern refugee program was established. The United States is on track to admit only 22,000 refugees this year, about half the maximum allowed.
It was not immediately clear whether the State Department and the Pentagon, which supported maintaining the cap at 45,000, changed their position as the debate proceeded or failed to persuade the White House.
U.S. President Donald Trump campaigned in 2016 promising tight restrictions on immigration, and his administration has sharply reduced refugee admissions through executive orders and closed-door decisions in the past year and a half.