The Donald Trump administration announced late on Wednesday that it will admit only 15,000 refugees in the 2021 fiscal year which starts today, October 1.
That number is down from the 18,000 cap this year, and dramatically down from 100,000 under the Obama administration.
The State Department made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday night, shortly before the October 1 start of the 2021 fiscal year.
The announcement was made just an hour before the deadline following criticisms from lawmakers.
President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly riled against immigrants, has already suspended admissions entirely for several months this year, citing the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, the State Department said it expects more than 300,000 new refugees and asylum claims in Fiscal Year 2021.
“The United States anticipates receiving more than 300,000 new refugees and asylum claims in Fiscal Year 2021. Of that number, up to 15,000 would be refugees admitted through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and more than 290,000 would be individuals in new asylum cases,” the department said.
Read full statement below:
Transmission of the President’s Report to Congress on the Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2021
Today, the Department of State, together with the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services, submitted the President’s Report to Congress on the Proposed Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2021. Following consultation with Congress, the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions will be issued by the White House.
The United States anticipates receiving more than 300,000 new refugees and asylum claims in Fiscal Year 2021. Of that number, up to 15,000 would be refugees admitted through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and more than 290,000 would be individuals in new asylum cases.
The United States is committed to achieving the best humanitarian outcomes while advancing our foreign policy interests. Given the dire situation of nearly 80 million displaced people around the world, the mission of American diplomacy is more important than ever.
By focusing on ending the conflicts that drive displacement in the first place, and by providing overseas humanitarian assistance to protect and assist displaced people, we can prevent the destabilizing effects of such displacement on affected countries and their neighbors. Therefore, we pursue diplomatic solutions to crises around the world, such as our support for the legitimate government of Venezuela in the face of the illegitimate Maduro regime’s tyranny.
In line with the U.S. National Security Strategy, we are working to assist refugees and other displaced people as close to their homes as possible until they can safely and voluntarily return to rebuild their lives, their communities, and their countries. As part of our longstanding leadership in international humanitarian crisis response, the United States provided more than $9 billion in humanitarian assistance in Fiscal Year 2019 and nearly $70 billion in humanitarian assistance over the past decade.
The President’s proposal for refugee resettlement in Fiscal Year 2021 reflects the Administration’s continuing commitment to prioritize the safety and well-being of Americans, especially in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It accounts for the massive backlog in asylum cases – now more than 1.1 million individuals – by prioritizing those who are already in the country seeking humanitarian protection. It also accounts for the arrival of refugees whose resettlement in the United States was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Refugee resettlement is only one aspect of U.S. humanitarian-based immigration efforts. Since 1980, America has welcomed almost 3.8 million refugees and asylees, and our country hosts hundreds of thousands more people under other humanitarian immigration categories. This year’s proposed refugee resettlement program continues that legacy with specific allocations for people who have suffered or fear persecution on the basis of religion; for Iraqis whose assistance to the United States has put them in danger; for refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras; and for refugees from Hong Kong, Cuba, and Venezuela.
The President’s proposal for refugee resettlement in Fiscal Year 2021 reaffirms America’s enduring commitment to assist the world’s most vulnerable people while fulfilling our first duty to protect and serve the American people.
U.S. Department of State