The White House on Tuesday plans to hold a meeting in the Situation Room to discuss potentially drastic cuts to the number of refugees the United States admits each year. One official has proposed cutting altogether a decades-old program that permits the entrance of tens of thousands of people each year who are fleeing war, persecution, and famine, according to The New York Times. Under that proposal, the president would have the ability to admit refugees in an emergency. Another option being considered would cut refugee admissions by half or more, to 10,000 to 15,000 people, reserving the remaining spots for nationals from countries with special status, such as Iraqis and Afghans who work alongside American troops, diplomats, and intelligence operatives abroad, according to the Times.
In the past two years, the refugee ceiling was capped at 30,000, its lowest level in history and a 70 percent cut from when President Barack Obama was in office. Eric Schwartz, the president of Refugees International told The New York Times in an interview, “At a time when the number of refugees is at the highest level in recorded history, the United States has abandoned world leadership in resettling vulnerable people in need of protection.”