The issue has ignited intense debate within the administration, with officials at the National Security Council, the State Department and the Department of Defense opposing a precipitous drop.
A month before the Supreme Court is to hear arguments in the travel ban case, it temporarily allowed the administration to bar many refugees.
The court exempted grandparents, other family members and thousands of refugees from President Trump’s travel ban, now under Supreme Court review.
As the Supreme Court prepared to hear the case, an appeals court considered who may be barred from entering in the meantime. The judges were more circumspect about refugees.
While refugee camps swell with families escaping Islamic fundamentalists and civil war, a 1990 act conveys a favored status on Ukrainians and other applicants from former Soviet areas.