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Trump expected to set U.S. refugee cap at 45,000

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump administration plans to cap the number of refugees admitted to the United States in the coming year at 45,000, two people with knowledge of the decision said, a historically low level advocates say ignores growing humanitarian crises worldwide.

That figure would be the lowest ceiling for refugee admissions since the U.S. Refugee Act was signed in 1980. Since then, the ceiling has never been set below 67,000 and in recent years has been around 70,000 to 80,000.

The administration plans to announce its decision on the cap on Wednesday, two U.S. officials said. The Wall Street Journal first reported the 45,000 figure on Tuesday.

The number of refugees actually admitted to the country, which can fall below the cap, dropped to its lowest in the fiscal year after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks with only around 27,000 admitted.

For fiscal 2017, which ends Sept. 30, former President Barack Obama established a cap of 110,000 refugees for permanent resettlement in the United States. After taking office, President Donald Trump issued an executive order lowering the maximum number to 50,000 for fiscal 2017, saying that more would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

By law, the president is required to consult with members of Congress about the number of refugee admissions before the start of each fiscal year, on Oct. 1.

A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment ahead of Trump’s final decision on the cap. The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Steve Holland in Washington; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Antonio Maffei

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