United States to slash refugee admissions to historic low of 30,000, Pompeo confirms

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Up to 30,000 refugees will be allowed into the country next year, down from a cap of 45,000 this year.

Launching yet another bigotry-driven attack on those fleeing wars and humanitarian crises in which the U.S.is playing an active and deadly role, the Trump administration announced late Monday that it is reducing America's refugee admission limit for 2019 to a record-low 30,000.

"This year's proposed refugee ceiling must be considered in the context of the many other forms of protection and assistance offered by the United States", Pompeo said in brief prepared remarks on Monday, after which he took no questions.

Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International, called the cap announced by Pompeo "appalling".

"Decisions on which refugees will be resettled and where they go are made exclusively by the governments of countries that, like the United States, admit refugees for resettlement", UNHCR spokesman William Spindler told a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva.

"In consideration of both US national security interest and the urgent need to restore integrity to our overwhelmed asylum system, the United States will focus on addressing the humanitarian protection cases of those already in the country", he said.

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Through August 15, just 48 Iraqis whose lives are in danger because they assistance US missions - have been admitted, while over 100,000 await admission as of the end of July.

"This must be perceived as an all-out attack against our country's ability to resettle refugees both now and in the future". However, only a fraction of that number were actually allowed in.

Some will characterize the refugee ceiling as the sole barometer of America's commitment to vulnerable people around the world. Of the 3 million refugees admitted to the USsince 1975, not one has been arrested for carrying out a lethal terror attack on U.S. soil, according to resettlement agencies.

The Trump administration is being sued by a group of refugee resettlement agencies and individual refugees, who allege that despite an internal security review that found banning refugees was not necessary for national safety, the administration did so anyway, citing security concerns. Yet, according to resettlement agencies in the United States, the USA vetting process is one of the world's toughest. It will be the lowest ceiling since the refugee program began in 1980.

The US refugee resettlement program aims to identify the most vulnerable among a refugee population, often those who are not only persecuted in their home country but also unwelcome in the country of first arrival - such as members of religious minorities or LGBT people.

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