Sept. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Monday that the United States will limit the number of refugees that can resettle in the country to 30,000 in 2019.
The United States expects to process up to 30,000 refugees and 280,000 asylum seekers in the fiscal year 2019, Pompeo said during a press conference at the Department of State headquarters.
"This year's refugee ceiling reflects the substantial increase in the number of individuals seeking asylum in our country, leading to a massive backlog of outstanding asylum cases and greater public expense," Pompeo said.
Pompeo added the cap shouldn't be held as the "sole barometer" for the United States' humanitarian efforts and "must be considered in the context of the many other forms of protection and assistance offered."
Pompeo said the lower refugee ceiling would help improve national security, criticizing the former asylum system as "defective."
"The improved refugee policy of this administration serves the national interest of the United States," he said. "We are and continue to be the most generous nation in the world."