Washington D.C., Sep 27, 2019 / 16:00 pm
Catholic leaders and organizations have condemned an announcement by the Trump administration that it intends to cap the number of refugees admitted to the United States at 18,000 for the 2020 financial year.
The 18,000 figure will not include people who are claiming asylum. A person seeking asylum does so after arriving at a port of entry. A refugee is processed before arriving in the United States.
The new proposed figure marks a 40% drop from the previous year’s ceiling of 30,000.
In a phone call with journalists, a senior administration official explained that the new refugee policy would prioritize refugees by the basis for their application over region of origin. The administration said that the large backlog in asylum cases is part of the reasoning behind the reduced number of refugees. There are nearly 400,000 asylum cases currently being processed by the U.S. government.
“First, we're prioritizing those who have been persecuted for their religious beliefs,” said the official, explaining that 5,000 places would be reserved for this category.
“The U.S. is committed to advancing religious freedom internationally, including the protection of religious groups across the globe.”
An additional 4,000 spaces will be reserved for Iraqis who assisted the United States, and an additional 1,500 places will be reserved for Honduran, Guatemalan, and El Salvadoran nationals who do not otherwise qualify for asylum.
The remaining 7,500 spots will go to eligible claimants not otherwise covered by these categories.