The United States will admit will a maximum of 30,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a press briefing late Monday afternoon.
During the briefing, Pompeo said refugee admittance should not be seen as the “sole barometer” to measure a country’s humanitarian efforts and that the 30,000 cap “must be considered in the context of the many other forms of protection and assistance offered by the United States.”
The new cap would be the lowest since the program began in 1980 and represents less than one-third of the average number of refugees admitted before President Donald Trump took office. When Trump entered the White House, the refugee cap was at 110,000. He lowered it to 50,000, and eventually to 45,000.
But while the refugee resettlement numbers under the Trump administration are significantly lower, Europeans and individuals from the former Soviet Union are coming in to the country at a higher rate, according to Vox.
The Trump administration proposed resettling 2,000 refugees from Europe, but with two weeks left in Fiscal Year 2018, more than 3,000 European refugees have been resettled. By the end of FY18, the administration will have missed the refugee resettle expectations it set for itself for all regions — except Europe.
Earlier in the year, the administration began the re-admittance of refugees from 11 countries previously identified as “high risk,” based on national security claims. For three months, refugees from 11 majority-Muslim countries (Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) were only allowed to enter the U.S. after a “deep vetting” process.
The Trump administration strategy of implementing policies that help reduce immigration to the whitest and most Christian applicants shouldn’t be surprising, considering immigration hardliner Stephen Miller has been a close adviser to the president since the beginning. According to Vanity Fair, Miller played a leading role in slashing the refugee cap from the Obama administration’s 110,000 to just 45,000. Both Miller and Trump reportedly suggested the FY19 cap be as low as 15,000 or even 5,000.
“Miller is not deterred,” a White House official told Politico in August. “He is an adamant believer in stopping any immigration, and the president thinks it plays well with his base.”