||| Viorel Dudau | Dreamstime.com |||
The State Department lifted the limit on the number of refugees allowed in the US earlier this week. Behind everyone’s back and without official statement from the State Department or the White House, officials sent emails to private refugee agencies and informed them that the weekly quota of 830 people, which had been in place previously, has been lifted. Instead, the amount of refugees allowed to enter is now unlimited
Refugee advocates predict the number of refugees to at least double. Earlier this year, President Trump sought to suspend refugee admission for four months and planned to lower the annual amount from 110,000 to 50,000. With the restrictions in place, the number of admissions in the previous months had been around 15% of previous numbers. Without the limit, numbers at the end of the fiscal year are predicted to exceed 70,000, almost as many as the year before and well above Trump’s target number.
The limits had been put in place due to budget constraints in fall of last year. This month, a spending bill was passed to fund the government for the rest of the year, without any limits on refugee admissions. The removal of the restriction was also decided on the same day as the rejection of the travel ban, which limited travel from six Muslim nations to the United States, but the State Department's decision was unrelated, according to government officials.
For 2018, President Trump’s proposed budget cuts could reduce how many refugees can be admitted to the country. Furthermore, Homeland Security screenings, which are required for refugees to enter the United States, have reportedly slowed down. However, even the proposed budget cuts might not guarantee any changes to foreign aid or the State Department’s budget.