Trump officials are seeking to severely restrict the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. next year. According to sources familiar with the plan, at least one official proposed setting the cap at zero. However, the Department of Homeland Security is reportedly considering setting the limit anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000.
“In the long-term, it would mean that the capacity and the ability of the United States to resettle refugees would be completely decimated,” said Jen Smyers, director of policy and advocacy for the immigration and refugee program at the Church World Service.
Department of Defense officials have expressed concern that the new policy would deny entry to Iraqis who have fought alongside U.S. forces.
“Over the last 17 years of war, numerous Iraqi nationals have risked their own lives and their families’ lives by aligning with our diplomats and warfighters providing essential mission support,” former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis wrote in a letter addressed to White House national security advisor John Bolton. “We owe them support for their commitment.”
The Trump administration has already reduced refugee admissions by a third this year, to 30,000.
“Even if you’re really hesitant about certain types of conflict-torn areas, I still think there are other areas that are not of concern,” said David Inserra, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation’s Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy. “There are enough refugees out there in the world that I think you could find more folks that you’re not particularly worried about.”
According to Politico, the deadline for setting the refugee limit is next month, which leaves enough time for outside groups to lobby the administration.
“We don’t get the final number until September, and things can change,” a pro-refugee advocate told Politico. “But the conversation being where it is now is alarming.”