Trump Admin Makes Big Change on Refugee Quotas

And it's probably not what you'd expect
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2017 11:55 AM CDT
Trump Admin Doubles Number of Refugees Allowed Into US
Family members who have just arrived from Syria embrace and are greeted by family who live in the United States upon their arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Monday, Feb. 6, 2017.   (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

By next month, the number of refugees allowed into the US could balloon from 830 per week to more than 1,500. The New York Times reports the State Department made the change with zero fanfare this week, sending a private email to agencies helping refugees in other countries. The change could increase the number of refugees entering the US in the 2017 fiscal year to 70,000; that's 15,000 fewer than in 2016 but far more than the 50,000 President Trump had proposed. Refugee advocates were excited by the news, calling it "long overdue." There are currently tens of thousands of refugees waiting to enter the US following a nearly two-year application process.

The change in refugee policy has nothing to do with court rulings on Trump's travel ban but rather with congressional budgets. The refugee quota was imposed by a budget passed last fall, but the spending bill passed by Congress this month didn't include it. The email sent out by the state department read that refugees will be "unconstrained by the weekly quotas that were in place." A spokesperson for the State Department says the decision to adjust refugee quotas was made following discussions with the Justice Department. It's possible the quotas are reinstated when Congress passes the 2018 budget. Read the full Times report here. (More refugees stories.)

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