The new plan would set the lowest cap since the 1980s, after Congress gave the president authority to set a maximum number of immigrants allowed to resettle in the usa after being persecuted in their home countries on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, politics and other specified criteria, according to senior us officials.
"While maintaining the United States leadership role in humanitarian protection, an integral part of this mission is to ensure that refugee resettlement opportunities only go to those who are eligible for such protection and who are not known to present a risk to the safety and security of our country", the official said.
The report said that the refugee population has been increasing, and the USA, in particular, has been wrestling with more people who make their way to the country and seek asylum once they are here.
"Those are the people that the U.S. programme really rescues", said Ms Richard, who was assistant secretary for refugees and migration at the State Department.
The State Department, which oversees the program, has formally recommended that the number be kept at 50,000, according to Trump administration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal deliberations.
Based on information from a number of administration sources, it seems unlikely that the president will approve admission of more than 45,000 refugees in 2018, and he may in fact decide on a lower level. That figure would be the lowest ceiling for refugee admissions since the U.S. Refugee Act was signed in 1980.
The UN refugee agency UNHCR put the number of refugees this year at an all time high, with 22.5 million worldwide coming mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and South Sudan. Smyers said that after Trump's executive order, she had to tell refugees in the pipeline they'd be waiting even longer. "We have every plan to process as many refugees as we can under this ceiling".
This year's process has been a contentious one, with White House domestic policy adviser Stephen Miller, who advocates a hard-line view on immigration, inserting himself into a discussion that is typically dominated by foreign policy concerns.
These developments would not be surprising, given the president's statements suggesting that the US refugee resettlement program is a threat to national security.
But the new cap of 45,000 has already come under fire from refugee agencies. First, under an global treaty, the U.S.is obligated to accept people with valid asylum claims, whereas it has the authority to set refugee admissions at any level. The ceiling hovered around 70,000 to 80,000 in recent years.
Congressional officials received the administration's report in hard-copy form on Wednesday less than three hours before a scheduled consultation between cabinet officials and top Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, one Congressional aide said.
Even if the cap is ultimately hit, it would reflect the lowest admissions level for the U.S. in more than a decade. From Albert Einstein to Madeleine Albright to Sergey Brin to so many others, refugees have benefited the United States enormously.
In a speech to the United Nations, Trump thanked Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon for taking in hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Syrian conflict, and described the United States as a "compassionate nation" that has spent "billions and billions of dollars in helping to support this effort".