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BY ROBBIE GRAMERSEPTEMBER 27, 2017 - 5:14 PM
Drawing outcry from humanitarian and refugee aid groups, President Donald Trump’s administration formally proposed Wednesday slashing the number of refugees allowed into the United States to its lowest level in decades.
The Trump administration proposed capping the number of refugees the United States takes in at 45,000 in fiscal year 2018, senior administration officials confirmed on Wednesday. Foreign Policy reported on the upcoming refugee quota decision on Tuesday.
The breakdown: 19,000 from Africa, 17,000 from the Middle East and South Asia, 5,000 from East Asia, and 1,500 from Latin America and the Caribbean.
A top administration official cited security concerns in the decision to limit the number of refugees, amid fears terrorists or other malign actors could slip into the United States under the guise of being a refugee. Refugees undergo extensive background checks, and new directives from President Trump could compel U.S. agencies to make those checks even more stringent.
“The security and safety of the American people is our chief concern,” the official said.
But humanitarian leaders say the security argument falls flat; since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, none of the nearly 1 million resettled refugees who entered the United States ever carried out a terrorist attack.
“You can assert whatever you want to assert but the facts just simply bely this preposterous argument,” said Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International. “I see this as an example of fact-free policymaking,” he added.
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