Trump's refugee cap: Less than 17500 from Middle East in 2018

The White House Will Slash the Number of Refugees Accepted Into the US to an All-Time Low

The 45,000 cap, to be formally announced by President Donald Trump in the coming days, reflects the maximum the U.S. will admit during the fiscal year that starts on Sunday (local time), although the actual number allowed could be far lower.

The administration placed caps on geographical areas, limiting the number of refugees who could be resettled from Africa to 19,000, East Africa to 5,000, Europe and Central Asia to 2,000 and Latin America plus the Caribbean to 1,500 and the Near East and South Asia to 17,000.

The United States took the largest number of resettled refugees in 2016: a total of 96,823 people according to the UNHCR, more than twice as many as Canada, the next closest contender.

Those who are accepted for resettlement in the United States are selected by the United Nations refugee agency from among the most vulnerable displaced people.

The intake of refugees was halted shortly after the inauguration of President Donald Trump, when he ordered a six-month review of security procedures for vetting new arrivals. "The number we process will depend on our ability to process, new vetting requirements that we're putting out, [and the] Department of Homeland Security's interviewing capacity, especially taking into account their need to tackle. domestic asylum", said a USA official.

Even with the new ceiling, senior officials insisted United States remains the global leader in permanently resettling refugees.

Officials at the department are rushing to put together a recommendation for a refugee cap for fiscal year 2018, which begins Sunday. That's down sharply from the 110,000 cap in President Barack Obama's previous year in office, although about 52,000 were admitted because of restrictions put in place after Trump took office.

Stacie Blake, of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, said the proposed cutbacks were especially concerning given the migrant crises affecting so many parts of the world, including the Rohingya Muslim refugees fleeing Myanmar. President Barack Obama had set a goal of 110,000 in 2017. "We have every plan to process as many refugees as we can under this ceiling", the official said. The Obama administration raised the cap past year, pledging to resettle 110,000 people, in a push to encourage other countries to do more in the Syrian crisis.

This year's process has been a contentious one, with White House domestic policy adviser Stephen Miller, who advocates a hard-line view on immigration, inserting himself into a discussion that is typically dominated by foreign policy concerns. The 1980 Refugee Act, passed by overwhelming and bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate in 1980, created the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

The new refugee ceiling is "tragic" and "misguided", according to Mindy Berkowitz, executive director of Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley in Los Gatos, one of just a few refugee resettlement agencies in Santa Clara County. He is expected to set a cap of 45,000 for FY 2018.

Immigration law requires the administration to submit the refugee report to Congress before the start of each fiscal year, and then consult with top members of relevant committees prior to the start of the fiscal year on October 1.

These developments would not be surprising, given the president's statements suggesting that the US refugee resettlement program is a threat to national security. They argue that the turmoil in Syria has caused a broken system in which the United States in unable to access databases to determine the background of would-be refugees.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which recommends potential refugees to UN members, went from recommending America 35,000 refugees a year ago to recommending only 3,591 between January and July. Republican lawmakers praised Mr Trump's refugee limit, saying it would help safeguard national security.

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