The U.S. will only resettle only 45,000 refugees in 2018, half of 2016 figure

- The United States will resettle only 45,000 refugees in 2018

- The new figure is half the amount the U.S. resettled in 2016.

- Refugee advocates and rights agencies kick against the move.
The United States government has announced on Wednesday that it will only resettle 45,000 refugees in 2018, a figure that has been slashed by at least half from 2016.

1980, the U.S. was instrumental in the resettling of at least 200,000 refugees from across the world.

In the 2016 fiscal year, the US accepted 84,995 refugees from around the world. This year it is on course to take in about 54,000.    

"The security and safety of the American people is our chief concern," a senior US official told reporters on a call to announce the new figure.    

"We need to ensure refugee resettlement opportunities go to those who are eligible for such protection and who are not known to present a risk to the safety or the security of our country."

This news has come as a shock and a blow to refugee advocates and United Nations agencies who are already facing an uphill battle to cope with the millions already displaced as a result of wars and crises worldwide.

The International Refugee Assistance Project, part of the New York-based Urban Justice Center, condemned the announcement as a case of the United States abdicating its leadership role on humanitarian issues at time when the world is grappling with the largest number of refugees since World War II.    

"Resettlement is only an option in the most urgent refugee cases," said Betsy Fisher, IRAP's policy director.  

"It's hard to comprehend why the administration would move to limit resettlement when the need is greater than ever. We are abandoning desperate people in life-or-death situations, including children with medical emergencies, US wartime allies, and survivors of torture."

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