The Trump administration announced on Thursday that it will allow only 18,000 refugees to move to the U.S. in the 2020 fiscal year. The number is the lowest in the history of the modern refugee program.
The 18,000 spots include 4,000 for Iraqis, 5,000 for those fleeing religious persecution, and 1,500 for people from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Roughly 40 percent — 7,500 spots — are for all others.
The refugee cap was 45,000 in 2018 and 30,000 in 2019.
The move was criticized by immigrant advocates, but the administration said it was necessary to deal with a backlog of hundreds of thousands of asylum claims, most of which have been filed by people from Central America crossing the southern U.S. border.
“The current burdens on the U.S. immigration system must be alleviated before it is again possible to resettle large number of refugees,” the State Department said in a statement.