Despite a court order halting most of his extreme vetting policy, President Trump’s administration has quietly been working toward his goal of a drastic cut in the number of refugees the U.S. will accept this fiscal year.
President Obama had set a target of up to 110,000 on his way out the door, but Mr. Trump tried to reset that number to 50,000. If the pace continues, the final tally is likely to be about 60,000 when the fiscal year ends in September — well below the level Mr. Obama wanted to lock in.
Most striking is the drop in the number of refugees from the seven terrorist-connected special interest countries that Mr. Trump singled out for extra scrutiny in his executive orders: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
“Even if ‘extreme vetting’ is on hold, good vetting takes time, and the Trump administration’s plans to follow the law are eliminating the irresponsible rush to judgment that took place under the Obama administration,” said Matthew J. O'Brien, research director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform and a former senior anti-fraud executive at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, one of the agencies that handles refugees.