Trump Administration Sets Lowest Cap on Refugee Admissions in 40 Years

Trump Slashes Refugee Cap to 18,000, Curtailing U.S. Role as Haven” by Michael D. Shear and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, The New York Times

Late Thursday, U.S. State Department officials announced the largest reduction in refugee admissions since the program began 40 years ago. In the next year, the Trump administration will accept a maximum of 18,000 refugees—a 40 percent decrease from the current 30,000 ceiling and a fraction of the 110,000 target in the final year of the Obama administration. This is a clear assault on America’s historic role as a beacon of freedom and refuge and will mean that people fleeing persecution are left in dangerous and even deadly situations.

Alongside this drastic reduction, the president also issued an executive order on Thursday requiring both state and local governments to provide written consent to the federal government before refugees are allowed to be resettled in their jurisdictions. This requirement is likely illegal and would be nearly impossible to implement, making it a thinly veiled backdoor attempt to grind the resettlement program to a halt.

Additionally, the Trump administration is poised to fail—for the third consecutive year—to comply with the clear legal obligation for Cabinet-level officials to consult in person with members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees before issuing a presidential determination setting refugee admissions targets. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wrote to administration officials, stating that “there has been very limited communication to coordinate consultation.”

For more on how to reframe the immigration debate, see CAP’s report: “Restoring the Rule of Law Through a Fair, Humane, and Workable Immigration System.”