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27 May, 2017 03:42

Number of refugees entering US to increase after State Dept lifts limit – report

Number of refugees entering US to increase after State Dept lifts limit – report

The US State Department has reportedly notified refugee advocacy groups via email to announce a near doubling of the number of refugees allowed into the US, from around 2,500 so far this month to over 1,500 per week in June.

President Donald Trump has sought to lower the cap of refugees entering the US, but an email sent out Thursday from State Department spokeswoman Jennifer L. Smith told private agencies operating worldwide that they would be allowed to bring refugees to the US “unconstrained by the weekly quotas that were in place,”according to the New York Times.

The refugee advocates that help manage the nearly two-year application process to come to the US received the news the same day the 4th Circuit Appeals Court ruled against Trump's travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries.

Under the weekly quotas, about 830 refugees arrived in the US during each of the first three weeks of May, the Times reported. The number limit was reportedly mostly due to budgetary rules set by a temporary spending bill Congress passed last fall, but Congress this month passed another spending bill, allowing the ceiling to be broken.

An anonymous State Department official told the Times that the department consulted with the Department of Justice before making a decision to adjust the quotas.

The 2017 fiscal year has so far seen 45,732 refugees enter the US, nearing Trump’s preferred limit of 50,000, less than half of the current limit of 110,000 annually.

The New York Times reported that advocacy groups anticipate a total of 70,000 refugees coming to the US from October 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017. That would be a drop of nearly 15,000 from the total during the 2016 fiscal year.