US Slashes Number Of Refugees To 30,000 For Next Year
The Trump administration is cutting the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year to 30,000.
The announcement comes despite statements from global humanitarian groups that this year's cap of 45,000 was too low. Only about half of that figure will have been resettled by the time the fiscal year ends on September 30.
The 30,000 ceiling announced Monday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is the maximum the U.S. will admit during the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. The actual number allowed could be lower. The U.S. welcomed nearly 85,000 refugees in the final year of the Obama administration.
The San Diego region was once a top destination for refugees. Data from San Diego County show local agencies resettled more than 4,000 newcomers during a surge in 2016, but that dropped to about 2,600 last year after President Donald Trump first shrunk the cap to 50,000. This year under another reduced ceiling, San Diego accepted fewer than 800 newcomers, including asylees and other immigrants who received humanitarian visas.
The lower admittance numbers reflect the Trump administration's opposition to accepting refugees and other immigrants into the U.S, which has significantly driven down refugee admissions.
However, Pompeo said the proposed 30,000 figure for next year was a demonstration of America’s generosity.
"This year’s proposed refugee ceiling must be considered in the context of the many other forms of protection and assistance offered by the United States,” Pompeo said during the announcement. “Moreover, the refugee ceiling number should not be viewed in isolation from other expansive humanitarian programs.”
He said the U.S. spent $8 billion last year to support humanitarian efforts across the globe, which he said was more than any other country.
The proposed refugee ceiling for next year could mean even less funding for agencies that provide employment services and other support programs for new and former refugees. A national relief agency is calling on the public to contact Congress and oppose the 30,000 figure, which according to the Migration Policy Institute is the lowest annual cap since 1980. However, a similar effort to raise the ceiling last year was unsuccessful.