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New cap on asylum seeker and refugee numbers

The Trump administration seems to mount an attack every week on migrants, asylum seekers and refugees seeking a better way of life. This week is no different. The State Department announced that the number of refugees and asylum seekers for the upcoming fiscal year would be 18,000, which is about 5% of the projected 368,000 applicants. This is the lowest number in 40 years of keeping track and down from the previous record low cap of 30,000, which was set in the previous year by Trump. The Obama administration set its cap in 2016 at 85,000.

The State Department also released a statement that explained why the U.S. is lowering the cap and reallocating budgets:

“It would be irresponsible for the United States to go abroad seeking large numbers of refugees to resettle when the humanitarian and security crisis along the southern border already imposes an extraordinary burden on the U.S. immigration system."

According to officials, the thinking is that they want to take money from other projects and focus on the “ongoing crisis” on the southern border. What they failed to mention was that the Pentagon benefits from that shift, getting $3.6 billion to build Trump’s long-promised wall across the southern border.

More bad news

Critics have pointed out that there is no reduction of cost or resources for the administration to lower the cap from 30,000 to 18,000, adding it was mean-spirited. Most disheartening for some is the fact that this lower cap also puts numbers in place for countries – this could mean that thousands of asylum seekers and refugees who cleared background checks would now not be able to enter the U.S. because their home country’s quota is full.

As is always the case with this administration, these numbers and policies could change at any time. Refugees and asylum seekers should check with an immigration law attorney. These legal professionals will have the most up to date information and how it applies to their clients.

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber