Trump administration proposes to further cut refugee cap in report to Congress

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Trump administration is proposing cutting to 45,000 the number of refugees allowed into the United States in the 2018 fiscal year, the lowest cap since 1980, the administration said in a report to Congress on Wednesday that was provided to Reuters.

After taking office in January, President Donald Trump issued an executive order lowering the maximum number of refugees to 50,000 for 2017, saying that more would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

The latest proposal represents a cut of more than half from the refugee ceiling set last year by former President Barack Obama, and is much lower than the 75,000 limit that refugee advocates say is needed to address growing humanitarian crises around the world.

The administration proposed taking in a maximum of 19,000 refugees from Africa, 5,000 from East Asia, 2,000 from Europe and Central Asia, 1,500 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 17,500 from the Middle East and South Asia, the report said.

In the refugee report, which the law requires the administration submit to Congress before the start of each fiscal year, the administration cites a growing backlog of cases of foreigners already in the United States who are seeking asylum for fear of persecution abroad.

Refugees, on the other hand, apply to come to the United States while they are still overseas.

As a result, the Department of Homeland Security, which is also responsible for interviewing refugees abroad, “is prioritizing adjudication of asylum cases to address this growing backlog, while still providing a portion of its resources to continue refugee processing activities,” the report states.

Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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