Trump to cut refugees to 18,000, give localities veto over resettlement

The Trump administration will propose cutting the number of refugees admitted in 2020 to 18,000, and will also call for a major restructuring of the program to align it with U.S. interests, including giving localities a say in whether they can accommodate the new arrivals. The plan will also reduce the role of the U.N. in picking America’s refugees, and instead give priority to religious minorities and Iraqis who have assisted the U.S. government, and to refugees the U.S has agreed to resettle on behalf of Australia. Officials submitted the proposal to Congress on Thursday, kicking off a consultation period that will conclude with President Trump making a final determination next month. But based on past consultations, the 18,000 number is likely to hold firm. It would be the lowest cap since the modern refugee system was created in 1980, and marks a 12,000 drop from the fiscal year 2019 cap, and a major reduction from the 110,000 refugee target the Obama administration tried to set for 2017. Even though the refugee number is low, the U.S. remains a leader in humanitarian protections, with some 350,000 asylum-seekers expected to begin claims next year. Asylum is protection granted to people already in the U.S., while refugees are those requesting protections from outside the country. There’s already a backlog of nearly 1 million asylum cases pending with Homeland Security and the immigration courts. A senior administration official said they view asylum and the refugee program in tandem, and as the number of migrants demanding asylum on the southwest border has surged, it’s natural that the government would cut the number of refugees it can handle. “Given the massive backlog we’ve got in humanitarian protection cases that are already in our country, it makes sense to prioritize that caseload before we go abroad looking for new refugees to resettle,” the official said..

This is a great first step, and WAY overdue.  For more, click on the text above…

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