While in the old days just a few years ago conservative Republican rebels against Chamber of Commerce/Bush-era orthodoxy worried about undocumented immigrants, the Trump administration has been very faithful to a vision of reduced immigration of every sort. Team Trump has been willing to put up with a lot of bad publicity to keep dusky foreigners out, as evidenced by its determination to apply a “zero-tolerance” policy towards asylum-seekers who cross the border illegally, even if that means separating families. But the administration is also more quietly ratcheting down the number of refugees from “bad” places with bad problems who are allowed to enter the U.S., despite the tens of millions of displaced people who need help.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced today that for the third straight year the cap on refugee admissions would be lowered, as Politico reports:
The Trump administration will admit no more than 30,000 refugees to the U.S. in the coming year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, down from the current cap of 45,000 …
When Trump took office, the refugee cap stood at 110,000. He lowered that to 50,000, and subsequently to 45,000.
Last year’s cap was the lowest ever, since the U.S. began setting one in 1980. That year, in case you were wondering, it was set at 231,000, nearly eight times as many as the number for this next year. So the door to refugees is far more closed today, and is closing more every year.
Apparently this is what Trump’s “base” wants right now, and in the run-up to the midterm elections, what the base wants, the base gets.