Trump expected to meet with senior officials on refugee ceiling

Officials to likely set refugee cap for 2020

By Priscilla Alvarez and Ryan Browne, CNN
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U.S. President Donald Trump

(CNN) - President Donald Trump is expected to meet Friday afternoon with senior State Department, Department of Homeland Security, Pentagon and White House officials to discuss and likely set a refugee cap for next year, CNN has learned.

CNN has reported that the Trump administration previously floated the possibility of slashing refugee admissions to zero next year, according to sources familiar with a meeting that occurred over the summer. The zero option received immediate objections from some government officials, according to one source.

A defense official tells CNN the Pentagon wants the number to be higher than what others in the administration are seeking.

The refugee cap, which dictates how many refugees may be admitted to the US, is discussed among several departments and agencies, and eventually approved by the President. Whereas the cap has often been viewed as a goal to be reached, the actual number of refugees admitted has fallen short.

Last year, the administration set a refugee cap of 30,000, the lowest level since 1980, and a significant shift away from the increasingly high caps placed under former President Barack Obama.

In the last few years of Obama's presidency, the refugee ceiling was raised from 85,000 in fiscal year 2016 to 110,000 in fiscal year 2017 amid the Syrian crisis.

As of August, more than 28,000 refugees have been admitted to the US this fiscal year, according to figures from the Refugee Processing Center.

Last week, former national security adviser John Bolton headed a high-level meeting on the topic of refugees, according to a source familiar with the matter. The meeting, known as a principals committee meeting, ended only an hour before the President's tweet announcing Bolton's resignation. It's unclear what the outcome of that meeting was.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.

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