The Trump administration is reportedly weighing a proposal to decrease the number of refugees admitted to the United States next year to fewer than 50,000, citing limitations with money and resources.
The administration also wants to increase its focus on strengthening the vetting for applicants in an effort to stop terrorists from entering the country.
President Trump already decreased the quota for refugees earlier this year, when he capped the number of refugees admitted at 50,000 through his travel ban executive order. That ceiling was less than half the number of refugees — 110,000 — former President Barack Obama said should be allowed to come to the U.S. last year.
Trump is approaching the Oct. 1 deadline to set the number of refugee admissions under the Refugee Act of 1980, and some advisers are calling for the president to drop the number of admittances to lower than 50,000, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
Stephen Miller, a White House senior adviser, is leading the charge for the reduction in refugee admissions. Some officials at the Department of Homeland Security back Miller's proposal, but others at the National Security Council, State Department, and Defense Department are opposing the lower ceiling.
Officials told the New York Times Miller pushed for the number of refugee admissions to be dropped as low as 15,000, while officials with Homeland Security said the ceiling should be set at 40,000.
Those within the Trump administration who back the plan to reduce refugee admissions are citing, in part, national security reasons, as the president has moved to enhance the vetting process for those applying for refugee status to protect the U.S. from terrorism. But they're also looking at the amount of money and resources needed for refugee resettlement, the New York Times reported, as there is already a backlog of asylum seekers.
Since 1980, when the Refugee Act was passed, the average ceiling has been roughly 94,000 worldwide, the New York Times reported. The limit has dropped below 70,000 one time, in 1986. That year, former President Ronald Reagan reduced the number of refugees admitted to 67,000.