Biden backtracks on keeping Trump cap on refugees

Biden will keep Trump's historically low cap on refugee admissions

Biden will keep Trump's historically low cap on refugee admissions

The decision was a blow to advocacy groups that wanted the Democratic president to move swiftly to reverse the refugee policies of the Republican Trump, who had set the 15,000 figure as a way to limit immigration. Upholding the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump admin, incl the historically low + plummeted refugee cap, is flat out wrong. He will set the annual global refugee admissions cap to 125,000, and seek to raise it over time commensurate with our responsibility, our values, and the unprecedented global need. "If the current pace of admissions continues - and if the Trump administration's admissions policies remain in place - the Biden administration will admit an estimated 4,510 refugees in FY21, less than half of the previous year of the Trump administration and fewer than any President in history".

Refugee admissions reached historic lows under Trump, who portrayed refugees as a security threat and made limiting the number of immigrants allowed into the United States a hallmark of his presidency.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said later that Biden has been consulting with his advisers to determine what number of refugees could realistically be admitted to the United States between now and October 1, the start of the fiscal year.

Since the fiscal year began on October 1, just over 2,000 refugees have been resettled in the U.S.

"As we face the largest global refugee crisis in history, with 29.6 million refugees worldwide, resettlement serves as a critical tool in providing protection to those fleeing persecution", he wrote. Secretary of State Antony Blinken notified Congress on February 12 that the administration planned to allow up to 62,500 refugees to enter the country in the fiscal year ending September 30.

While running for president, Biden promised to reverse much of the immigration policies of the Trump administration.

Axios reporter Jonathan Swan reacted by saying, "Biden keeps the Trump / Stephen Miller refugee cap".

"The Administration's delay in issuing the revised Presidential Determination for 2021 has had serious repercussions", Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez of New Jersey wrote in a Friday letter. "The challenge of ramping up admissions to President Biden's pledge of 125,000 is daunting, but it is an occasion we can rise to".

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During a news conference on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also urged Biden to increase the number of refugees admitted into the United States while defending the Biden administration's response to the surge of migrants at the US's border with Mexico.

"Today, President Biden is turning his back on tens of thousands of refugees around the world who have been approved to come to the United States".

Most of the refugees are from Africa and fleeing armed conflict or political persecution. Trump limited most spots for people fleeing religious persecution, Iraqis who have assisted USA forces there, and people from Central America's Northern Triangle. An administration official said the change would allow the Biden administration to fill the cap of 15,000, although it would also leave thousands of additional refugees cleared to fly to the United States stranded in camps.

Officials also cited the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic but said the expanding vaccination and testing campaigns are making it easier to process new refugee admissions.

"It is a factor", said Psaki, noting that the Office of Refugee Resettlement "does management and has personnel working on both issues and so we have to ensure that there is capacity and ability to manage both". The asylum seekers at the border are not handled by the U.S. Refugee Program, which has its own people and budget.

Historically, the United States has had a refugee ceiling on average of 95,000 refugees per year.

"This leadership is sorely needed", he said.

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