The Trump administration has rolled back refugee programs so substantially that the U.S. is on track to admit just 22,000 refugees this year — one quarter of the number admitted in 2016, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The number of forcibly displaced people in the world, 68.5 million, is at a record high this year, but the U.S. took in fewer refugees than at any other point in the past four decades, when the modern refugee program began. President Trump set a low ceiling of 45,000 for refugee admission in 2018, and the number of arrivals lagged far behind that.
The "travel ban" pushed by the Trump administration has also affected refugee resettlement statistics. Trump signed a disputed executive order that created a stricter vetting process for people from 11 countries, mostly in the Middle East and Africa. Refugees from those nations now make up less than 2 percent of the admissions, whereas they used to account for 36 percent of U.S. refugees.
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Nearly two-thirds of the officials who used to conduct refugee interviews have been reassigned to asylum screenings, reports Reuters, focusing on migrants already in the country instead of people who qualify for U.N. refugee status.
President Trump is expected to determine 2019's refugee ceiling this month. Reuters reports that some administration officials who supported maintaining or increasing the cap no longer work in their positions, sparking fears among advocates that the number will soon be even lower. Read more at Reuters. Summer Meza