WASHINGTON,(APP/AFP) - The United States will reduce the number of refugees it is prepared to welcome for resettlement to only 45,000 over the next year -- just over half the figure for 2016, officials said Wednesday.
The decision will disappoint refugee advocates and United Nations agencies, which are struggling to cope with millions displaced by several major wars.
In the 2016 fiscal year, the United States welcomed 84,995 refugees from around the world. This year it is on course to take in around 50,000.
The United States is still the world's biggest destination for refugees , but arrivals are well down from a high of more than 200,000 in 1980.
And President Donald Trump has made no secret of his hostility to resettlement, having ordered a moratorium on new arrivals and tougher background checks.
Officials said they plan to complete a review of security procedures for vetting new arrivals by next month, but arrivals next year will be reduced.
"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.