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The Trump administration has announced that it would reduce the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the United States, bringing the number to less than half of what former president Barack Obama had proposed for the current fiscal year.
The United States plans to admit no more than 45,000 refugees in the coming year, with regional caps of 19,000 for Africa, 17,500 for the Near East and South Asia (which includes most Middle Eastern countries), 5,000 for East Asia, 2,000 for Europe and Central Asia, and 1,500 for Latin America and the Caribbean, the CNN reports.
The new cap is the lowest in decades for the U.S. refugee admission programme and marks an especially steep decline from recent years.
A U.S. government official has said that the number is "consistent with our foreign policy goals and operational capacity in light of additional security vetting procedures that we are implementing, and the domestic asylum backlog that (the Department of Homeland Security) is currently facing."
Notably, this cap does not include an "unallocated reserve" quota for the administration to respond to unforeseen upticks in refugees, according to the CNN.
Last year, then-president Obama announced the United States would take in at least 110,000 refugees, up from 85,000 in the previous year.