Nigerians hoping to seek asylum in the United States of America, are very likely to be turned back, as the President Donald Trump administration says it will take in an all-time low of 18,000 refugees in the next financial year.
The US State Department said in a statement that the country needed to reduce the burden on its migration system before it is able to settle a large number of refugees again.
The State Department noted that over 350,000 persons were expected to seek refuge in the US but “the current burdens on the US immigration system must be alleviated before it is again possible to resettle a large number of refugees".
The Guardian reports that the White House set the migrant cap for 2018 at 30,000 and received only 29,800 in 2018.
Kevin McAleenan, acting head of the department, said the low acceptance rate is in order, due to a backlog of claims at the country’s southern border.
“A lower cap will allow the homeland security department to better address the ongoing crisis at the southern border and aid in reducing a staggering asylum backlog that unfairly delays relief for those with meritorious claims,” he stated.
The Guardian UK reports that there are 800,000 unattended cases in immigration courts in the US and unanswered claims have soared by 50 percent under Trump – indicating an intentional build-up.
Amnesty International supports this claim saying the US has the capacity to accept more refugees than it is willing to let-in.
“The fact is, the US has the capacity to accept far more refugees than this. We know that we can vet them and resettle them at rates far higher than this because the US has done it for decades,” the organisation said in a statement.
David Miliband, the policy adviser to Tony Blair former UK prime minister, described the announcement as “a very sad day” for America.
“Refugee Resettlement is an essential lifeline that the US provides for the most vulnerable refugees at a time of unprecedented global crisis,” Miliband said.
The US has been running its refugee programme since 1980 and experts feel Trump wishes the scheme would come to an end.