U.S. slashes refugee limit to all-time low of 18,000

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The Trump administration aims to resettle no more than 18,000 refugees throughout the United States in the new fiscal year that starts October 1.

In its justification for cutting the 2020 cap, the administration said the focus had to be on processing a backlog of asylum claims, most of which are filed by migrants from Central America crossing the U.S. -Mexico border.

Though the United States had always been the leading nation for admitting and resettling refugees, it has fallen below Canada, which past year admitted 28,000 refugees compared to 22,000 for the United States, according to a U.N. report.

Along with the new cap, President Trump also issued an executive order giving states and local governments the power to decide whether they want the refugees, or not. NPR's Bobby Allyn was on a call with Trump administration officials who briefed reporters on the announcement, and he's here with us now.

The administration will reserve 5,000 slots for refugee persecuted on the basis of religion, and 4,000 spaces for Iraqis who assisted US forces in that country.

That leaves only 7,500 slots for everyone else.

As the president vows to keep promoting global freedom to worship, faith-based groups that resettle refugees are urging him to admit more of the religious minorities whose persecution he has decried.

A senior administration official discussing the transfer on Thursday stated that the particular allocation for spiritual minorities could be an enchancment over earlier years the place broad allocations had been made per area.

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That number would just be a fraction compared to the tens of thousands of migrants from Central America who are arriving at the USA border each month.

The US Refugee Admissions Program was set up in 1980 when Congress passed the Refugee Act.

America continues to lead the way in worldwide refugee efforts, both in financial contributions and permanent resettlement.

Nadine Maenza, vice chair of that commission and a Trump appointee, drew a direct link between promoting religious freedom worldwide and accepting persecuted worshippers seeking refugee status. However a drastic discount within the general numbers, in addition to the allotments for specific teams, may imply a lot of them will seemingly miss the prospect to come back to the nation within the 2020 fiscal yr. As an instance, a September 22 put up relating to the declining federal cost to church-speed refugee groups used to be headlined "Summer season of Discontent for US Catholic Bishops! Why?" Whereas a brief suspension is typical, the weeks-long halt has left many refugees who had already booked their flights stranded.

"This administration's eagerness to unilaterally abandon our national commitment to protect people who are seeking safety from persecution, torture, and genocide is sickening", said Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrants' Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.

For that reason, the government underlined the importance of the diplomatic agreements "to address issues of illegal immigration and border security" that it has reached with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, countries that make up Central America's Northern Triangle, where most of the undocumented immigrants attempting to enter United States territory come from.

Today, the President signed an Executive Order to ensure refugees are placed in an environment in which they will have the greatest opportunities to thrive, prosper, and contribute to their new American community.

It added that under a new order, refugees would only be resettled in jurisdictions where state and local authorities consent.

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