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|May 16, 2021|
Biden says he will raise refugee cap from 15,000 to 62,500
WASHINGTON - President Biden on Monday announced that he will raise the annual cap on refugees who can be admitted the United States to 62,500, but did not expect to reach that mark this fiscal year, a move that follows months of wavering and fierce blowback from human rights advocates and fellow Democrats.
“Today, I am revising the United States’ annual refugee admissions cap to 62,500 for this fiscal year. This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees,” Biden said in a written statement.
Biden added a notable caveat to his statement, that his administration was not expecting to hit the cap he set. “The sad truth is that we will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year,” he said. “We are working quickly to undo the damage of the last four years. It will take some time, but that work is already underway.”
The decision marks a shift back to the approach Biden took in February before backing away from it. The president grew reluctant to follow through in his promise due to concerns he developed about how the government was dealing with a migration surge at the southern border.
On Monday, Biden said in his statement that “The new admissions cap will also reinforce efforts that are already underway to expand the United States’ capacity to admit refugees, so that we can reach the goal of 125,000 refugee admissions that I intend to set for the coming fiscal year.”
The more ambitious goal of 125,000 will be difficult to hit, according to a senior administration official. But the administration plans to do all it can to realize it, the official added.
Biden wants to send a clear message the Americans and the world that the U.S. welcomes refugees and is committed to protecting the most vulnerable, according to the official, who explained the thinking behind Monday’s announcement on the condition of anonymity.
The president’s announcement comes several weeks after the White House announced in mid-April that the president was leaving the cap where Trump set it. That decision prompted a furious uproar and was followed hours later by a subsequent White House announcement Biden intended to raise the cap after all.
The Biden administration said in February that it was looking to raise the cap for this fiscal year to 62,500. The next fiscal year starts in October. (Source: The Washington Post)
Story Date: May 4, 2021