President Donald Trump announced on Friday that the administration was restricting the intake of refugees into the United States to the lowest-level on record under the current refugee system.
In a memo to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump announced that he was setting the refugee cap at 18,000 refugees for Fiscal Year 2020 — 12,000 lower than Trump’s cap for Fiscal Year 2019, and “the lowest number since the modern refugee system was created nearly 40 years ago,” The Washington Times reported.
The Trump administration reportedly considered going even lower when they first entertained the idea over the summer, cutting the number all the way down to nearly zero.
“During a key meeting of security officials on refugee admissions last week, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services representative who is closely aligned with White House immigration adviser Stephen Miller suggested setting a cap at zero,” Politico reported. “Homeland Security Department officials at the meeting later floated making the level anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000, according to one of the people.”
The officials who were in favor of accepting zero refugees reportedly “argued in the meeting that the refugee cap should be low because of ongoing security concerns and the ability of the U.S. to offer humanitarian protections through the asylum process.”
Trump’s memo to Pompeo on Friday reflected that thinking stating, “The admission of up to 18,000 refugees to the United States during Fiscal Year 2020 is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest.”
Those who will be allowed to be under consideration for entering the United States as a refugee in 2020 under the 18,000 cap are limited to:
1. Refugees who:
• have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of religion;
• who are within a category of aliens established under subsections (b) and (c) of section 599D of Title V, Public Law 101-167, as amended (the Lautenberg and Specter Amendments) 5,000
2. Refugees who are within a category of aliens listed in section 1243(a) of the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act of 2007, Title XII, Div. A, Public Law 110 181, as amended 4,000
3. Refugees who are nationals or habitual residents of El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras 1,500
4. Other refugees, including, in particular:
• those referred to the United States Refugee Admissions Program by a United States Embassy in any location;
• those who gain access to the United States Refugee Admissions Program for family reunification through the “Priority 3” process or through a Form I-730 following to join petition;
• those currently located in Australia, Nauru, or Papua New Guinea who gain access to the United States Refugee Admissions Program pursuant to an arrangement between the United States and Australia; and
• those in the United States Refugee Admissions Program who were in “Ready for Departure” status as of September 30, 2019. 7,500
The Washington Times noted that the 18,000 cap is significantly lower than the “110,000 refugee target the Obama administration tried to set for 2017.”
The crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border quieted down somewhat over the summer thanks to a mix of extreme heat that discouraged would be migrants from trying to make the trek through Central America and Mexican officials guarding the U.S. southern border thus further discouraging migrants from trying to enter the U.S.
“Even though crossings have been down over the past few months and news of custody deaths and teeming facilities full of children and families has faded from front pages and talking points of politicians, the number of migrants coming over border is still high,” the Associated Press reported late last week. “And resources are still stretched.”
“It is kind of a new norm. We’re at risk at any time,” Brian Hastings, chief of law enforcement operations at Border Patrol told the AP in respect to conditions caused by left-wing judicial activists who remove deterrent efforts that help U.S. officials gain control of the border. “We will go back, mark the words, we will go back to the crisis level that we had before.”