US President Joe Biden to raise refugee cap after criticism

Sec. of State Antony Blinken'very hard to meet Biden goals on refugees

Sec. of State Antony Blinken'very hard to meet Biden goals on refugees

How many refugees will the United States accept?

The official said the Biden administration was open to increasing the 15,000 number, if needed to address an "unforeseen emergency situation".

Under the order Biden signed, the administration modified the allocation of refugee slots.

Christian groups strongly condemned the Biden administration Friday after it was announced that he would maintain the refugee resettlement cap at 15,000 people, matching former President Donald Trump's historically low admissions goal and going back on his promise to raise the number to 125,000. "In the morning we said, actually, with the information we put out, once we reach 15,000, we will raise it".

After the backlash, the White House said Biden will increase the cap on refugee admissions for the remainder of the fiscal year by May 15, but it did not disclose what that number might be.

The order led to criticism from prominent Democrats, including Senator Dick Durbin, the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, who called the refugee limit "unacceptable". "There exists a national network of organizations, churches and state offices who have decades of experience resettling refugees", said Ali Noorani, president and CEO of the National Immigration Forum, an immigrant advocacy group. However, she did not say what the new limit would be.

The order allocated 7,000 slots for refugees from Africa, 3,000 from Latin America, 1,500 from Europe and Central Asia, 1,500 from the Near East and South Asia, and 1,000 from East Asia. The remaining 1,000 slots are to be used as required. Refugees must be vetted while still overseas and cleared for entry to the US. Bob Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Biden in a letter Friday that his inaction "undermines your declared objective to reverse your predecessor's refugee policies".

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He said he had summoned Russian ambassador Alexander Zmeyevsky to convey the decision. Hamacek said the the case will significantly harm Czech-Russian relations.

'And now we're going to increase the numbers, ' Biden said of admitting refugees to the U.S.

"The refugee program is distinct from other paths of immigration and unrelated crises should not distract us from doing what's right for refugees", he continued.

Officials had also cited the COVID-19 pandemic as one of the reasons to keep the cap at 15,000, but they added that with vaccination and testing expansions, it would be easier to process new refugee admissions. "Let's be clear. We are changing the policies of the last administration".

President Joe Biden has for the first time described the recent surge of illegal immigrants along the U.S. -Mexico border as a crisis, in the midst of Republican-led pressure to do so.

The State Department, which coordinates flights with resettlement agencies, booked 715 refugees to come to the United States with the anticipation that Biden would have acted by March, but those flights were canceled since the refugees were not eligible under Trump's rules, according to resettlement agencies.

If anything, keeping a historically low refugee admissions cap in place could exacerbate the situation at the border, according to Dr. Austin Kocher, a research professor at Syracuse University, who said the decision could "prompt still more refugees to attempt to come through the asylum system, placing an even heavier burden on the US immigration court system".

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