The Trump administration is considering reducing the number of refugees admitted to the country over the next year to below 50,000, the lowest number since at least 1980, a media report said.
US President Donald Trump promised during his 2016 campaign to deny admittance to refugees who posed a terrorist threat. During his first days in office he took steps to radically reduce the programme that resettles refugees in the US, capping the number admitted at 50,000 as part of his executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
That was less than half the 110,000 refugees President Barack Obama said should be admitted in 2016, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.
But in recent weeks, as the deadline approached for Trump to issue the annual determination for refugee admissions required by the Refugee Act of 1980, some inside the White House — led by Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior adviser for policy — have pressed to set the ceiling even lower, said the report by the daily, citing unnamed sources.
Trump is required by law to consult with Congress. The decision on the refugee ceiling should be made by October 1, the report said. The US Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the administration to maintain its policy on refugees.
The judges agreed to an administration request to block a lower court ruling that would have eased the refugee ban and allowed up to 24,000 refugees to enter the country before the end of October.
The order was not the court’s last word on the travel policy that Trump first rolled out in January. The judges are scheduled to hear arguments on October 10 on the legality of the bans on travellers from six mostly Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — and refugees anywhere in the world.
It’s unclear, though, what will be left for the court to decide. The 90-day travel ban lapses in this month and the 120-day refugee ban will expire in October.
The administration has yet to say whether it will seek to renew the bans, make them permanent or expand them to other countries.