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Trump plans to slash refugee admissions to new low

(Reuters) - President Donald Trump’s administration has announced plans to let only 15,000 refugees resettle in the United States in the 2021 fiscal year that began on Thursday, setting another record low in the history of the modern refugee program.

The State Department said late on Wednesday the ceiling reflects the Trump administration’s prioritizing of the “safety and well-being of Americans, especially in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” Trump, seeking re-election on Nov. 3, has taken a hard line toward legal and illegal immigration during his presidency, including slashing refugee admissions every year since taking office in 2017.

The Trump administration has said that refugees from war-torn regions should be resettled closer to their home countries and that the United States extends asylum to thousands of people through a separate process.

Critics have said that the United States under Trump has abandoned its longstanding role as a safe haven for persecuted people and that cutting refugee admissions undermines other foreign policy goals.

The refugee cap was cut to 18,000 last year, but around 7,000 of those slots went unused, according to government figures, as increased vetting by the Trump administration and the coronavirus pandemic slowed arrivals.

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