President Donald Trump wants to prioritize refugees to favor those with a higher chance for "successful assimilation" into American culture above those who merely have a humanitarian need to move to the United States.
While the cap is low - it represents far less than 1 percent of the 22.5 million people counted as refugees - it does not necessarily reflect the actual number of refugees who are admitted to the U.S.in a year.
"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.
Notably, this cap does not include an "unallocated reserve" quota for the administration to respond to unforeseen upticks in refugees, according to the CNN.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson briefed Congress Wednesday about the presidential determination relating to a cap on refugees for the 2018 fiscal budget year, which starts Sunday. "We are urging President Trump to not slam the door on refugees and to admit, at the very least, 75,000 of the world's most vulnerable refugees over the next 12 months". The annual ceiling has fluctuated between 70,000 and 80,000, until soaring to 110,000 under President Barack Obama.
"With historically high numbers of innocent people fleeing violence worldwide, the United States response can not be to welcome a historically low number of refugees into our country", said Bill O'Keefe of Catholic Relief Services.
The Trump administration suggested taking 19,000 refugees from Africa, 17,500 from South Asia and the Middle East, 5,000 from East Asia, 2,000 from Europe and Central Asia, and 1,500 from Latin America.
The number was a compromise, The Hill reported, noting senior policy adviser Stephen Miller pushed for only 15,000. He is expected to set a cap of 45,000 for FY 2018. Refugees remain outside the US while their applications are considered; asylum applicants are filed by people who are already here.
- The new figure is half the amount the US resettled in 2016.
Immigration law requires the administration to submit the refugee report to Congress before the start of each fiscal year, and then consult with top members of relevant committees prior to the start of the fiscal year on October 1.
A White House official said: "The President's strategy on refugees is guided first and foremost by the safety and security of the American people". And the president has argued the refugees can be helped more by keeping them close to their homelands. The ceiling has never gone below 67,000 in the nearly 40 years that the refugee admissions program has existed in the U.S.
Across the world there were 22.5 million refugees a year ago, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
"It's really moving away from the commitments the government has had for the protections of refugees from both Republican and Democratic administrations", he said.
Resettlement is the careful selection and relocation by governments, such as the U.S., of vulnerable refugees who've already been granted asylum by another country.
Although Trump continues to struggle with Congress over support for his legislative agenda, limiting refugee flow is one of the areas in which he has free reign to meaningfully deliver to his base.