The Trump administration is considering cutting refugee admissions to zero next year, Politico reported.
According to the report, a US Citizenship and Immigration Services official who is closely aligned with White House immigration adviser Stephen Miller suggested capping the number of refugees admitted to the United States at zero at a key meeting on refugee admissions last week.
Officials from the Department of Homeland Security proposed cutting refugee admissions by up to 90% from current levels, to between 3,000 and 10,000, according to the report.
The Trump administration already slashed refugee admissions by a third in 2018 to 30,000.
DOD ‘alarmed’ over proposal:
Officials at the Defense Department were “alarmed” by the proposal for a near-shutdown on refugees because it would prevent Iraqis who risked their lives to help American forces from being able to come to the US.
Refugee advocates said the move would end the refugee program as we know it.
“In the long-term, it would mean that the capacity and the ability of the United States to resettle refugees would be completely decimated,” Jen Smyers, who heads the resettlement agency Church World Service, told Politico.
Miller allies push for shutdown:
Two Miller allies, USCIS official John Zadrozny and the State Department’s Andrew Veprek, both argued at the meeting for a much lower refugee cap, citing “ongoing security concerns.”
The Miller allies contended that even if the cap was higher than they preferred, the administration still had discretion to admit fewer refugees.
“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.”