President Joe Biden announced on Monday that he is revising the limit on the total number of refugees allowed to enter the country this year, to 62,500 – following a backlash from the left side of his party after appearing to be waiting for a much lower number.
The government had previously announced an attempt to raise the cap from 15,000 after being attacked by critics, including Democratic “ squad ” members Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.
The series of reversals came to a head in April, when the administration indicated it would move to raise the cap – days after initially achieving a 15,000 mark for the current fiscal year from the remaining Trump administration.
President Joe Biden says he will raise the refugee ceiling for the current fiscal year to 62,500 from the current 15,000
The earlier decision stopped raising the ceiling, even as Biden took steps to increase the possibility of refugee resettlement. Aides initially said that an increase was not necessary. Biden had campaigned for the higher grade.
“Today, I am reviewing the annual admission ceiling for refugees in the United States to 62,500 for this fiscal year,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House on Monday.
This erases the previous administration’s historically low number of 15,000, which did not reflect American values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees. The new admission cap will also reinforce efforts already underway to expand the United States’ capacity to accept refugees so that we can reach the 125,000 refugee admission target that I intend to set for the coming fiscal year . ‘
“It is important to take this action today to dispel any lingering doubts in the minds of refugees around the world who have suffered so much and who are anxiously awaiting the start of their new lives,” Biden said.
A group of migrants are seen as they were taken to shelters by U.S. officials following the registration process and COVID-19 testing in McAllen, Texas, United States on April 8, 2021.
Haitian migrant children play in an evangelical church while they wait for the migration office to give them a guarantee to continue their way in a caravan bound for the US, in the municipality of Troyes, in the department of El Paraiso, Honduras, on the border with Nicaragua, in April. 21, 2021
The political backlash followed a series of mixed signals.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Congress in February of the government’s intention to go to 62,500.
But Biden said on April 16 that the 15,000 Trump administration number “ remains justified by humanitarian considerations and is otherwise in the national interest. ” That caused a stir from liberal and left-wing Democrats.
This resulted in furious comments from Omar, a Somali American whose family fled a refugee camp from Kenya at a young age.
‘As a refugee, I know that finding a home is a matter of life or death for children all over the world. It is a shame that @POTUS is renouncing an important pledge to welcome refugees, ‘she tweeted.
Biden announced in a White House statement that he was raising the limit
There are simply no excuses for today’s shameful decision. It goes directly against our values and risks the lives of little boys and girls huddled in refugee camps around the world. I know because I was one, ‘she added.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez blasted last month Biden for upholding “the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump era.” She called the number 15,000 “completely and completely unacceptable.”
It all came amid a crisis at the border and the administration’s efforts to persuade federal employees to help process unaccompanied immigrants into the Health and Human Services Department’s custody.
Biden said in his statement that the refugee program is “the embodiment of America’s commitment to protect the most vulnerable and to stand up as a beacon of freedom and refuge for the world.” It is a statement about who we are and who we want to be. So we are going to rebuild what broke down and do everything we can to complete the rigorous screening process for the refugees already in the pipeline for admission. ‘
But, he said, ‘The sad truth is, we won’t hit 62,500 withdrawals this year. We are working quickly to undo the damage of the past four years. It will take a while, but that work is already underway. We have reopened the program to new refugees. And by the regional a
His budget plan sets the target of 125,000, but does not have the force of the law.
He called the song ‘hard to hit’ and wrote, ‘Maybe we won’t make it in year one. But we are going to use every available tool to help these fully vetted refugees fleeing the horrific conditions in their home countries. ‘