The FBI has dramatically slowed the pace of security reviews for refugees in recent months, which former Trump administration officials and human rights advocates say is part of an intentional bid by White House hardliners to restrict the number of refugees allowed in the United States, NBC News reported.
The administration has overloaded the FBI and other government agencies with an array of procedures that have weighed down the bureaucracy and effectively delayed refugee admissions, former officials and aid organizations say.
Refugee admissions have plunged to historic lows, with the U.S. on track to admit only about 20,000-21,000 refugees by the end of September. The number is far below a ceiling set at 45,000 by administration officials last year.
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"We are not able to release the number of applications we have reviewed, but in the course of carrying out our duties the FBI takes the necessary time to thoroughly review all the information available," the FBI said in a statement. "The FBI will continue to support the comprehensive and rigorous vetting of individuals who may be admitted to our country."
The administration denies it is intentionally obstructing refugee resettlement.