U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration decided to cut the maximum number of refugees permitted to resettle in the United States in fiscal year 2020 to 18,000, according to a press release issued Thursday by the U.S. Department of State.
That number would be a trim of almost half of the 30,000 cap set for fiscal year 2019.
The State Department said the country anticipates receiving more than 368,000 new refugees and asylum claims in fiscal year 2020, the 12-month period starting Oct. 1.
“Of them, 18,000 would be refugees we propose to resettle under the new refugee ceiling; we also anticipate processing more than 350,000 individuals in new asylum cases,” the department said.
The New York Times in a report compared the newly proposed ceiling with the one set for 2016 — the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency — which was 110,000.
“The current burdens on the U.S. immigration system must be alleviated before it is again possible to resettle large number of refugees,” read the press release.
The Trump administration has long been stressing the need to curb the influx of “illegal” migrants into the United States through its southern border with Mexico.
Trump has repeatedly advocated for, and spared no effort in, sourcing funds for the construction of a border wall.
The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security put forward a stringent rule on July 15 that will disallow asylum applications by migrants entering the United States through a third country without seeking protection there.
The Supreme Court endorsed the nationwide restriction on Sept. 11. Two of the nine supreme court justices, however, dissented.
The Supreme Court’s decision met with strong opposition from advocacy groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, a nationwide non-profit organization that claims to defend individual rights and liberties. ■