WASHINGTON - The U.S. reached its self-imposed cap of 30,000 refugee arrivals Monday, the last day of the 2019 fiscal year, as the Trump administration eyes another major reduction in refugee admittances from across the globe for 2020.
More than half of refugees from Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019 came from African nations, with Democratic Republic of Congo accounting for nearly 13,000 of those admitted.
Myanmar (4,932), Ukraine (4,451), Eritrea (1,757), and Afghanistan (1,198) rounded out the top five countries of origin. Iraq and Syria followed, each with fewer than 600.
Last year, the White House set the admissions ceiling at 45,000, of which less than half — 22,491 refugees — were resettled in the U.S.
Last week, the U.S. State Department announced it is seeking to resettle only 18,000 refugees in the new fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. If enacted, the ceiling would be America's lowest since the modern refugee program was approved by Congress in 1980. While the decision is not final, pending consultations with Congress before the administration issues the official number, the White House has consistently pushed for lower refugee admissions under President Donald Trump.
Trump administration officials have repeatedly pressed for efforts to keep displaced people in their country of first refuge — for example, Jordan or Turkey for a Syrian fleeing Islamic State or civil war.
However, the refugees referred for resettlement are those the U.N. has identified as unable to remain safely in their home country or in the country to which they fled — people for whom resettlement is a last resort.
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