The U.S. State Department said that the Trump administration has reduced the country's refugee cap to 18,000. That marks a historic low and the move was condemned by Sarah Power, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who described it as "an abomination". It was also lambasted by human rights groups. Trump has now slashed Obama's proposed cap in 2017 by 80 percent.
Trump also signed an executive order on Thursday which required state and local governments to give their consent before refugees could be resettled in their communities. The majority of the 18,000 places on offer will be reserved for Iraqis who worked with the U.S. military. 5,000 have been allocated for persecuted religious minorities while 1,500 places have been reserved for asylum seekers from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
When the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program was established in 1980 under the Carter administration, the limit was 231,700. Trump has considered effectively ending the program by reducing the cap to zero but he has kept it running amid pressure from Democrat and Republican lawmakers. However, he has steadily reduced the limit, cutting it to 50,000 in 2017, 45,000 in 2018 and 30,000 this year. His administration has maintained that the cuts are necessary given the gravity of a humanitarian and security crisis on the border with Mexico.