The administraiton proposed that during the fiscal year that begins in October and runs through the end of September 2018, a maximum of 45,000 refugees be allowed to come to the U.S., the official said on condition of anonymity.
The number is the lowest in years, and is about 40 percent of the number last sought by the Obama administration.
The official categorically denied suggestions that while admissions will be capped at 45,000, the actual number allowed entry will be far fewer.
"We have every plan to process as many refugees as we can under this ceiling," the official said. "The number we process will depend on our ability to process, new vetting requirements that we’re putting out, DHS’ interviewing capacity, especially taking into account their need to tackle the domestic asylum backlog."
President Donald Trump has consistently viewed asylum seekers first and foremost as security concerns, and sought to halt all admissions. Former President Barack Obama wanted to admit 110,000 refugees in the fiscal year that ends at the end of the month, but admissions slowed dramatically after Trump took action to halt the entire resettlement program.
He is expected to formally announce the decision in the coming days.
The official said the administration will propose admitting 19,000 from Africa, 5,000 from Asia, 1,500 from all of Latin America and the Caribbean, and 17,000 from the Middle East and South Asia.
During an address before the United Nations last week, Trump said it costs over ten times as much for a refugee to be resettled in the U.S. as it does for Washington to assist them in their home countries.
But the new cap of 45,000 has already come under fire from refugee agencies.
"Churches and communities, employers and mayors, are heartsick at the administration’s callous and tragic decision to deny welcome to refugees most in need” Linda Hartke, the President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said in a statement.
"We are not afraid of our new neighbors and are not fooled by cruel and false claims that refugees are a threat to our safety. The American legacy of welcoming refugees has made us stronger and better, and the government’s own research proves that refugees bring economic benefit to our country through their hard work," she added.