The Trump administration is dramatically scaling back U.S. refugee resettlement efforts, according to a Thursday Reuters report.
The move comes months after the White House announced plans to significantly curb refugee admissions and to more carefully vet new entrants to the country.
In a Dec. 1 meeting, State Department officials reportedly told nine refugee agencies that resettlement offices throughout the country will not receive federal authorization to resettle nearly as many people in 2018.
Stripped of that necessary approval – and federal funding – dozens of resettlement offices will probably have to close, Reuters reported.
There are approximately 300 such offices in 49 states, and they are often affiliated with or overseen by the refugee agencies. The local offices employ aid workers that help refugees transition to life in America in various ways.
Resettlement officers that plan to assist fewer than 100 refugees next year will be prohibited from helping to settle new arrivals, Reuters reported, citing State Department officials.
The news came on the same day that a federal judge said he would decide before Christmas whether to stop a Trump administration ban on certain refugees after hearing arguments Thursday that the ban is separating families and putting some refugees in danger.
Lawyers from the ACLU and Jewish Family Service asked U.S. District Judge James Robart for an injunction on a ban the administration has placed on refugees from some mostly Muslim countries.
The ban went into effect in October after President Donald Trump issued an executive order resuming the refugee program "with enhanced vetting capabilities."
In September, the Trump administration announced it would sharply curtail the number of refugees allowed into the United States to 45,000 next year. It would reflect the lowest admissions level for the U.S. in more than a decade.
Lowering the cap reflects Trump’s opposition to accepting refugees and other immigrants into the U.S., an approach that has already driven down refugee admissions.
Former President Barack Obama had wanted to take in 110,000 in 2017, but the pace slowed dramatically after Trump took office and issued an executive order addressing refugees.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.