The Trump administration is considering a virtual shutdown of refugee admissions next year, cutting the number to nearly zero, reports Politico. During a key meeting of security officials on refugee admissions, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services representative closely aligned with White House immigration adviser Stephen Miller suggested setting a cap at zero. Homeland Security Department officials floated making the level anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000. The proposal for a near-shutdown of the refugee program alarms Defense Department officials, who don’t want to see a halt in admissions of Iraqis who risked their lives assisting U.S. forces in that country. The possible Trump administration cut refugee admissions by a third this year, to 30,000.
A shutdown of refugee admissions would give President Donald Trump a powerful talking point as he makes immigration restrictions a centerpiece of his reelection campaign. It would strand thousands of people already far along in the process and damage the ability of resettlement agencies to process refugees in future years, advocates say. “In the long-term, it would mean that the capacity and the ability of the United States to resettle refugees would be completely decimated,” said Jen Smyers of Church World Service, one of the nine U.S. resettlement agencies. The meeting was a preliminary step in the annual process of setting the admissions cap.