Trump Considering Decreasing Admitted Refugee Number Next Year to Nearly Zero

The Trump administration is considering reducing refugee admissions by 90 percent. Trump adviser Stephen Miller believes it’s not enough and is urging the administration to cut the refugee admissions to zero.

What We Know:

  • Roughly 20 officials met last week at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to discuss the annual process of setting the admissions cap. According to reports, Homeland Security officials suggested cutting the current number of refugees admitted by 90 percent. The State Department proposed capping the number of refugees between 3,000 and 10,000 a year. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Official John Zadrozny and State Department Refugee Chief Andrew Veprek—who are described as Miller’s allies—argued that the decrease is necessary for “security” concerns.
  • The proposal comes days after the Trump administration implemented a temporary rule that would end asylum in the United States for Central Americans at the US-Mexico border. The regulation would require refugees to first apply for asylum and be rejected in any other country they pass through. Two lawsuits have been filed seeking to block the move.
  • Every year, the President determines the number of refugees who should be allowed to enter the U.S. in the upcoming year,  which highlights the United States’ commitment to protecting those fleeing their country due to violence, war, and persecution. Since Trump entered office, U.S. refugee levels have been cut by a third to just 30,000, according to Politico. This has been the lowest refugee admissions goal in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. Since 1980, the U.S. has accepted around 95,000 refugees per year.
  • Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who suggested keeping the admissions ceiling at around 45,000, sent a letter to national security adviser John Bolton advising that reducing the refugee cap would betray the Iraqis who had risked their lives to assist American troops. “A failure to honor our commitments to those who have supported the U.S. in combat would undermine our diplomatic and military efforts abroad to protect the Homeland and support key aspects of the President’s national security strategy by making it more difficult to sustain the support of partners elsewhere,” he added.

Amnesty International is urging the U.S. to admit at least 95,000 refugees in 2020. “It is beyond shameful and a new low, even for this administration, to even consider accepting no refugees to the U.S.,” Ryan Mace, Grassroots Advocacy and Refugee Specialist for Amnesty International USA, said in a statement.