Despite repeated efforts by President Trump to curtail refugee resettlements, the State Department this week quietly lifted the department’s restriction on the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States.
The result could be a near doubling of refugees entering the country, from about 830 people a week in the first three weeks of this month to well over 1,500 people per week by next month, according to refugee advocates. Tens of thousands of refugees are waiting to come to the United States.
The State Department’s decision was conveyed in an email on Thursday to the private agencies in countries around the world that help refugees manage the nearly two-year application process needed to enter the United States.
In her email, Jennifer L. Smith, a department official, wrote that the refugee groups could begin bringing people to the United States “unconstrained by the weekly quotas that were in place.”
Although it came the same day as an appeals court ruling that rejected government efforts to limit travel to the United States from six predominantly Muslim nations, the move by the State Department had nothing to do with the court ruling.
The department’s quotas on refugee resettlement were largely the result of budget constraints imposed by Congress in a temporary spending measure passed last fall. But when Congress passed a spending bill this month that funded the government for the rest of the fiscal year, the law did not include any restrictions on refugee admissions.
A State Department spokeswoman, speaking on the condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, said the department had consulted the Department of Justice about its refugee quotas and had decided to adjust them.