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Less Than 20,000 Refugees Resettled in U.S. with One Month Left in Fiscal Year

Illustrative: South Sudanese refugees line up to fill their plastic containers with water from a tap at the Imvepi reception center, where newly arrived refugees are processed before being allocated plots of land in nearby Bidi Bidi refugee settlement, in northern Uganda,, June 9, 2017.
AP Photo/Ben Curtis

Less than 20,000 refugees have been resettled in the United States so far in FY 2018, with just one month left in the fiscal year.

At this rate, fewer than 22,000 refugees will be admitted into the country in FY 2018, which ends on September 30 – the lowest number of refugee arrivals in more than three decades since the passage of the Refugee Act of 1980.

This marks a steep decline from the number of refugees admitted each year under the previous administrations of President Barack Obama and President George W. Bush.

In FY 2016, the last full year of the Obama administration, 84,995 refugees were admitted to the United States.

In FY 2017, in which the first three months and 20 days were under the Obama administration and the last eight months and 11 days were under the Trump administration, 53,716 refugees were admitted.

As of August 31, a total of 19,889 refugees were admitted into the United States in the 11 months between October 1, 2017 and August 31, 2018, according to the State Department’s website, wrapsnet.org.

Forty-five percent of these arriving refugees were from Africa, 16 percent were from Asia, 16 percent were from Europe, four percent were from Latin America and the Caribbean region, and 18 percent were from the Near East, according to the Refugee Processing Center website for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

The pace of refugee admissions to the United States declined slightly in August.

A total of 1,675 refugees were admitted into the United States in the month of August, down slightly from the 1,984 admitted in July, and below the average of 1,821 for the first ten months of FY 2018.

The three states with the highest number of refugees resettled in them by the federal government during the first 11 months of FY 2018 are Texas with 1,467 resettled refugees; Ohio, with 1,301 resettled refugees; and California, with 1,232 resettled refugees, according to the wrapsnet.org website.

President Trump is expected to announce his presidential determination for the cap on the numbers of refugees that will be resettled in the United States in FY 2019 later this month.

The Refugee Act of 1980 requires that the president announce the refugee cap determination each year prior to the beginning of the new fiscal year, which starts on October 1.

The presidential determination is designed to inform Congress of the maximum number of refugees that will be allowed to enter the country under the Refugee Admissions Program. It is not a target or a required goal.

By law, the administration is authorized to allow fewer refugees than identified in the refugee cap in the presidential determination announced in the month preceding the new fiscal year.

That is exactly what the Trump administration has done in FY 2018.

In September 2017, President Trump announced a presidential determination that set the refugee cap for FY 2018 at 45,000. It appears now that the final number of refugees admitted to the United States during FY 2018 will be slightly less than half the refugee cap announced in September 2017.

President Trump is expected to announce a presidential determination that the refugee cap for FY 2019 will be somewhere between zero and 25,000.

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