The White House is considering reducing the number of refugees accepted into the U.S., according to a source familiar with the discussions.
Stephen Miller, President Donald Trump's senior policy adviser, has reportedly suggested lowering the annual number to below 50,000, The New York Times reported.
Trump reduced the refugee intake to 50,000 for 2017. The source said Miller, who has worked with Trump to craft the administration's hard-line immigration policies, was at one point pushing for the quota to be 15,000.
"When you get down to some of the numbers that are being talked about, you get down to a program of really nugatory levels," David Miliband, head of the International Refugee Committee, told The New York Times. "It's not an exaggeration to say the very existence of refugee resettlement as a core aspect of the American story, and America's role as a global leader in this area, is at stake."
But for Mark Krikorian from the Center for Immigration Reform, which advocates for less immigration, the current intake is too high.
"There's no real, moral justification for resettling large numbers of refugees," Krikorian said. "Refugee resettlement is just a way of making ourselves feel better."
Advocates of a further reduction point to alleged security threats, including by suggesting resources are insufficient to do background checks on the refugees to guard against possible terrorism ties.
Bill Canny, executive director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, believes the U.S. has a moral responsibility to accept refugees.
"The United States has provided tremendous leadership in this area over many years and has encouraged other countries to accept more refugees, and those have been largely moral arguments on the part of our country, talking about duty and 'love thy neighbor' and helping those in need," he said. "By diminishing the numbers in the way that they've discussed, we diminish our capacity to do any of that."
On Sept. 12, the Supreme Court permitted the Trump administration to continue to enforce its ban on refugees entering the country while the court rules on Trump's travel ban. The decision came in response to a lower court ruling that would have enabled 24,000 refugees to enter the U.S. by the end of October.
By the time the Supreme Court hears arguments on Trump's travel ban in October, the 90-day travel ban on individuals from six Muslim-majority countries will have expired. The ban on refugees is due to expire at the end of October.
"We are pleased that the Supreme Court has allowed key components of the order to remain in effect," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said, according to ABC News. "We will continue to vigorously defend the order leading up to next month's oral argument in the Supreme Court."
Sources: The New York Times, ABC News / Featured image: Shealah Craighead/The White House/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons, US Department of Labor/Wikimedia Commons