For the third year in a row, the United States will slash the number of refugees it will accept. In the next fiscal year, up to 18,000 refugees will be allowed in the country, down from the cap of 45,000 two years ago and 30,000 last year. 18,000 is a historical low since the program began in 1980. In 2017, the cap was 110,000. While the 18,000 cap is the maximum number of refugees the U.S. will admit during fiscal year 2020, the actual number allowed could be lower. In 2018, the U.S. ultimately admitted about 22,500 refugees.
Of the proposed 18,000 spots, 4,000 would be reserved for Iraqis, 5,000 for those fleeing religious persecution and 1,500 for people from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. That leaves 7,500, or roughly 40%, for all others.
Most applicants to the U.S. refugee program spend at least three years being interviewed, undergoing biometric checks and medical exams, and filling out paperwork. Cases are screened by the Defense Department, FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. After they are resettled, refugees continue to undergo security checks in the United States for five years or more.
Since the Trump administration take over, there has been new regulations that drastically limited asylum options, including making domestic violence victims no longer eligible to apply for asylum. With the backlog in immigration courts, the wait to have a hearing can take up to years. To learn more about the asylum program, please click here. To learn more about other forms of humanitarian relief, please click here.
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