President Donald Trump on Nov. 1 approved a plan that continues a dramatic drop in the number of refugees taken in by the United States in fiscal year 2020.

The U.S. State Department released a proposal onSept. 26, saying it would put the refugee limit at 18,000 for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, much lower than the 30,000 cap allowed into the country this year.

“The current burdens on the U.S. Immigration system must be alleviated before it is again possible to resettle large number of refugees,” the department said.

In a statement issued Saturday, Nov. 2, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted, “At the core of the Trump Administration’s foreign policy is a commitment to make decisions based on reality, not wishes, and to drive outcomes based on facts.”

“The admission of up to 18,000 refugees to the United States during Fiscal Year 2020 is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest,” presidential determination wrote.

“The United States anticipates receiving more than 368,000 new refugees and asylum claims in FY 2020.  Of them, 18,000 would be refugees we propose to resettle under the new refugee ceiling; we also anticipate processing more than 350,000 individuals in new asylum cases,” a State Department representative explained.

According to the plan, one priority of refugee admissions is the people “have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution on account of religion,” with the number of 5,000 set aside.

Since taking office, President Donald Trump has been pushing an attempt to bolster global religious freedom.

In July, the State Department organized the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom—the largest religious freedom conference in the world, in which President Trump met with 27 victims of religious persecution from 17 countries.

Among the victims was Yuhua Zhang—a former professor at Nanjing Normal University, who was illegally imprisoned and tortured by China’s communist regime for refusing to give up an ancient meditation practice called Falun Dafa.

Speaking to the survivors of persecution at the meeting, President Trump said, “In our Bill of Rights the first liberty is religious liberty. Each of us has the right to follow the dictates of our conscience and the demands of our religious conviction. We know that if people are not free to practice their faith then all of the freedoms are at risk.”

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