updated 10/12/2006 9:47:28 AM ET 2006-10-12T13:47:28

President Bush said Wednesday that up to 70,000 refugees from around the world can be admitted to the United States in the next year.

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Bush declared the figure in a memo to the secretary of state, as he does each year after consulting with Congress as required by law. Bush has set the figure at 70,000 each time.

The United States admitted 69,304 refugees in 2001 but suspended admissions briefly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Admissions dropped to 27,029 in 2002 as the government intensified screening of refugees. Admissions crept up to 53,813 in the 2005 fiscal year, then dropped to 41,500 in fiscal year 2006.

Regional restrictions
The president laid out maximum numbers to be accepted from each region of the globe:
- 22,000 from Africa.
- 11,000 from East Asia.
- 6,500 from Europe and Central Asia.|
- 5,500 from the Near East and South Asia.
- 5,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The remaining 20,000 can be allocated by the State Department to various regions as the need arises.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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