Trump approves plan to cap refugees at 18,000 in 2020

Trump’s administration set the number at 30,000, the lowest since the modern resettlement program’s creation in 1980. (File/AFP)
Updated 03 November 2019

Trump approves plan to cap refugees at 18,000 in 2020

  • The refugee ceiling during Obama’s administration was 85,000
  • The number set during Trump’s administration was the lowest since the modern resettlement program’s creation in 1980

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump has signed off on a plan that continues a dramatic drop in the number of refugees taken in by the US to no more than 18,000 in fiscal year 2020.

When the State Department first announced the plan in September religious and humanitarian groups sharply criticized the administration.

In the last full year of the Obama administration, the refugee ceiling was 85,000. This year, the Trump administration set the limit at 30,000. That number was the lowest since the modern resettlement program’s creation in 1980.

In a statement issued Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted that refugee resettlement “is only one aspect of US humanitarian-based immigration efforts.” He cited diplomatic efforts to find solutions to crises as well as humanitarian aid.


New Zealand volcano spews ash plume in eruption, several injured

Updated 37 sec ago

New Zealand volcano spews ash plume in eruption, several injured

  • As many as 100 people were in the vicinity when the eruption began
  • The White Island volcano is one of New Zealand’s most active

WELLINGTON: A volcano erupted in New Zealand on Monday, spewing a plume of ash thousands of feet into the air, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying tourists were among several people unaccounted for as emergency services mounted a rescue operation.
As many as 100 people were in the vicinity when the eruption began about 2:11 p.m. (0111 GMT) on White Island, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the east coast of North Island, authorities said, sending up smoke visible from the mainland.
“We believe 100 people were on or around the island,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference, adding that a rescue operation had begun, although it was too early to confirm any injuries or deaths.
“A number of people are reportedly injured and are now being transported to shore,” she added. “It does appear to be a very significant issue...particularly the scale of people affected, at this stage.”
Many of those affected could be tourists, she said.
“I’m not sure if these people were on the island or near it, but there was definitely one group out there and they definitely needed medical care,” said Judy Turner, the mayor of the coastal town of Whakatāne, near White Island.
“There were some injuries and the focus is on getting these injured people back safely and to get them to a hospital.”
There seemed to be no danger for people in coastal areas farther away, she added.
The island’s immediate surroundings were hazardous because of the eruption, the National Emergency Management Agency said in a statement, adding that falling ash might affect some areas.
The “short-lived eruption” threw an ash plume about 12,000 ft (3,658 m) high, New Zealand’s geoscience agency GNS Science said in a statement, but added there were no current signs of an escalation.
The White Island volcano is one of New Zealand’s most active.