No refugees have been resettled in the U.S. in October, and the government has canceled around 500 flights for refugees who were supposed to arrive this month, according to CNN.
Those taxpayer-funded flights were canceled because of a moratorium on new admissions that's scheduled to run until Nov. 5, a State Department spokesperson told CNN. The federal government will have to reschedule flights for those refugees — who have already passed the lengthy screening process — once the moratorium is lifted. Travel arrangements for refugees who have already been admitted into the U.S. has been postponed twice before, according to CNN’s report.
The pause in resettlements may be due to President Trump not having signed off on the refugee ceiling for the new fiscal year started Oct. 1, according to CNN. The Trump administration said in September it plans on setting this fiscal year’s refugee cap at 18,000 — a 40% reduction from the 2019 cap of fiscal 30,000, which advocates said was already dangerously low. According to federal data analyzed by Pew, refugee admissions for fiscal 2019 did hit the 30,000 cap.
The steady decrease in refugee admissions has hurt resettlement agencies across the country. World Relief, one of the nine nonprofit groups tasked with resettling refugees, closed one of its offices in Jacksonville, Florida, this year because of last year’s refugee cuts.
“It's the money,” Elaine Carson, the founding director of World Relief’s Jacksonville program, previously told VICE News. “Our funding was per refugee. So for every refugee we got, the more money we had to be able to have staff and be here. But we don't have the money anymore.”
The cuts — not to mention the series of delays in letting already admitted refugees into the U.S. — have created a new series of problems. Bethany Christian Services, an organization that partners with refugee resettlement agencies and finds foster homes for unaccompanied minors, has had four teenage refugees age out of its services, CNN reports. The four minors all turned 18 while waiting to be let into the U.S., meaning they no longer qualify for foster care and have to wait to be allowed in to the U.S. as adults.
Cover: In this June 20, 2017 file photo, refugees and community activists gather in front of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)