45,000 is lowest number since the caps were put in place in 1980. The previous low was 67,000 requested by Ronald Reagan in 1986.
“The U.S. refugee program was created in the aftermath of World War II. At that time, we rightly rejected antisemitic ideology and embraced our role as a beacon of hope and freedom for those in need. Since that time, US refugee protection has never been a partisan issue, nor a political one. Presidents from both parties have long recognized that the U.S. refugee admissions program is essential to global stability and our reputation as a leader on the world stage.”
— U.S. Representatives John Conyers and Zoe Lofgren
Donald Trump intends to cap America’s annual refugee admissions at a historic low, marking the administration’s latest crackdown on immigrants from some of the world’s most vulnerable groups.
A U.S. state department report seen by the Guardian shows that the administration has briefed Congress it will admit just 45,000 refugees in 2018, the lowest number requested by any president in over three decades and less than half the 110,000 cap issued in the last year of the Obama administration.
The report references the president’s travel ban that was issued in March that called for more stringent vetting of refugees, who already face strict security checks which can see processing take on average between 18–24 months.
“While maintaining the United States’ leadership role in humanitarian protection, an integral part of this mission is to ensure that refugee resettlement opportunities go only to those who are eligible for such protection and who do not present a risk to the safety and security of our country,” the report states.
The announcement comes just days after the president issued a series of indefinite travel restrictions for eight countries, the latest iteration of Trump’s travel ban, which critics argue deliberately targets Muslim travellers.