The Trump administration will allow no more than 45,000 refugees into the United States next year, officials said, in what would be the lowest admissions level in more than a decade.
U.S. government officials said on a call with reporters Wednesday that the “safety and security of the American people” is the chief concern, CBS News’ Kylie Atwood reports.
“State and DHS have determined that the ceiling of 45,000 refugees is consistent with our foreign policy goals and operational capacity in light of additional security vetting procedures that we are implementing as well as domestic asylum backlogs that DHS is currently facing,” a U.S. government official said.
When asked which foreign policy goals this cap jives with, a U.S. government official noted the safety and security of the American people as the top priority – which means not wanting to let in anyone that would
“endanger the security of America.”
The administration had been considering a ceiling somewhere between 40,000, which the Homeland Security Department recommended, and 50,000, the State Department’s preferred level, according to officials. The new figure appears to be a compromise that Cabinet officials felt would be palatable to the president.
Refugee admissions will not be directly correlated to the countries currently listed in Mr. Trump’s latest ban on travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. The 120-day review of the refugee program is looking at every country individually, so country-by-country determinations are yet to be made. That will happen after the administration’s 120-day review of the refugee program concludes on October 24.
There will be caps set for individual regions. Refugees from Latin America and the Caribbean, which is currently struggling after a deadly hurricane season, would be capped at 1,500. There would be 2,000 people let in from Europe and Central Asia. Refugees from Africa would be capped at 19,000, South Asia at 17,000, and 5,000 from East Asia.
Still, Mr. Trump’s stated hostility to accepting refugees, and opposition among others in his administration, mean the U.S. may not intend to fill all 45,000 slots in the 2018 fiscal year that starts Sunday. The U.S. hasn’t taken in so few refugees in a single year since 2006, when 41,223 were allowed entry.
“That’s not our goal to slow roll it. We have every plan to process as many refugees as we can under the ceiling,” said a U.S. government official, who noted…