The Hill: Refugee admissions down for first part of fiscal 2018: report

Numbers of refugees admitted to the U.S. dropped below that of recent years during the first three months of fiscal 2018, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper reported that the U.S. admitted about 5,000 refugees during that time. That number is less than that of similar periods in recent years — and more than 20,000 less than in the first three months of fiscal 2017.

If that pace of refugee admissions continues, the U.S. will admit fewer than the 45,000 cap that President Trump set earlier this year.

“Our job is to balance the need to protect legitimate refugees with the need to protect our security,” said Jennifer Higgins, associate director for refugee, asylum and international operations at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, according to the newspaper.

During the first three months of fiscal 2017, the U.S. admitted more than 25,000 refugees. In the first three months of fiscal 2016, the country admitted more than 13,000.

Eric Schwartz, president of Refugees International, who ran the refugee program at the State Department during the Obama administration, said the low refugee admission numbers are “enormously discouraging and dispiriting.

"It is another reflection of this administration's march away from the principle of humanity," he said.

Officials announced earlier this year that Trump would allow no more than 45,000 refugees into the U.S. during fiscal 2018.

The decreased number of refugees let into the U.S. during October, November and December came after policies set forth by the Trump administration, including various travel bans.

Late last year, the Supreme Court granted the Trump administration's request to fully reinstate the third version of his travel ban.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and a federal district court in Maryland had said Trump could only block the entry of nationals from the six majority-Muslim countries in the ban — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad — if they lacked a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States. The high court’s decision now puts those rulings on hold.

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