The White House is considering another reduction in the amount of refugees it will allow to resettle in the U.S., two former government officials and another person familiar with the talks told The New York Times.
The Trump administration is showing less resistance to the idea because Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior policy adviser and an architect of his anti-immigration agenda, has installed allies who are prepared to sign off on the reductions, The Times reported.
Trump set the cap at 45,000 in 2017. That amount was the lowest number of refugees admitted to the U.S. since the program was launched in 1980, NPR reported.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whose department has been a strong supporter of the refugee program, is now being advised by aides close to Miller, the report noted.
That number would put the amount lower than the number that were admitted in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“This is part of an ongoing discussion and no policy decisions have been made,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at the daily press briefing. “We want to make sure we know who they are, why they are coming, and that they pose no danger or threat to Americans. That’s the number one priority.
“We want to make sure that we have the processes in place and the ability to vet any individual that would come into this country.
“If the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies that they would work in coordination to determine that they don’t have the ability to vet a certain number, then the president would have concerns with that.
“The number one priority is national security and making sure we have the ability to properly vet and process any individual that comes into this country.”
Those in favor of cutting back the refugee limits say they are acknowledging the fact the government does not have the ability to vet and admit the amounts of refugees it has done in the past, The Times reported.
Officials who have experience with the refugee program say the White House is deliberately not prioritizing refugees.
“There’s a continued concentration of power in the hands of folks who don’t support a robust refugee program,” said Mary Giovagnoli, director of Refugee Council USA, The Times reported.
Newsmax’s Todd Beamon contributed daily press briefing details to this report.
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