By Jason Hopkins
The State Department is on track to accept zero refugees for the month of October, a result of the president’s pause in admissions and his overall goal of dramatically reducing the number of refugees that enter the country every year.
The Trump administration is extending its pause on the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program until early November — the third extension made this fiscal year, CNN first reported. The result will ultimately mean that no refugees will be admitted into the country for the entire month of October.
“During the first week of every fiscal year, there is a pause in refugee arrivals for the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program. At the end of Fiscal Year 2019, we notified our implementing partners that the refugee arrivals pause would be extended,” a State Department spokesperson said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“We have now extended it through November 5. We will work with our implementing partners to plan for a resumption of refugee arrivals, including rescheduling travel for those affected by the extension,” the statement continued.
Fiscal years begin on Oct. 1 and end on Sept. 30. There is typically a pause in arrivals for the first week of October when the new fiscal year begins. However, refugees waiting to enter the U.S. were informed this month that they would have to wait until Oct. 21.
That date was later pushed back to Oct. 28. Now the State Department is setting the date at Nov. 5.
“By law, no refugees may be admitted in any given fiscal year until the President signs and issues the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions,” the State Department said. The fact that the program keeps getting delayed suggests that President Donald Trump has not yet issued his approval of the new fiscal year numbers.
The delays follow a years-long effort by the Trump administration to greatly reduce the number of refugees allowed entry every year.
The administration in September proposed setting the fiscal year 2020 cap on refugees to 18,000 — the lowest level ever seen since the resettlement program began nearly four decades ago. Administration officials said refugee admissions would be tailored to those who face religious persecution, those who have assisted U.S. national security, and those at the heart of the U.S. southern border crisis.
The numbers for fiscal year 2020, if approved, would be a big decrease from the 23,000 refugees accepted in fiscal year 2018 and an even bigger drop from the 33,000 accepted in 2017.
The U.S. had been the number one destination for refugees worldwide for nearly 40 years. Under the Trump administration, the U.S. lost its top position for the first time, falling into second place, according to a Pew Research Center study published in June.
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