After outcry, WH says Biden will lift refugee cap in May

After outcry, WH says Biden will lift refugee cap in May

Over the weekend, Biden was asked by a reporter in DE about his policy on refugee admissions.

"It is simply unacceptable and unconscionable that the Biden Administration is not immediately repealing Donald Trump's harmful, xenophobic, and racist refugee cap", Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said.

At that time, it was decided that the Biden administration would raise the cap through the rest of this fiscal year to 62,500.

Fisher followed-up on the question Psaki brushed past about the criticism from Democrats.

"In recent years. the United States has not lived up to its ideals as the number of refugees welcomed into our country has plummeted due to policies that diminished the resettlement process", they stated at the time.

Following the criticism, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden's original announcement had been "the subject of some confusion" and said the president was expected to increase the refugee cap by May 15. However, she did not say what the new limit would be.

FILE - Residents in support of continued refugee resettlement hold signs at a meeting in Bismarck, N.D., December 9.

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

Biden had initially allocated 7,000 for refugees from Africa, 1,000 from East Asia, 1,500 from Europe and Central Asia, 3,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean and 1,500 from the Middle East and South Asia. The remaining 1,000 slots are to be used as required.

And once you meet that definition, you're referred to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

The 2021 ceiling is dramatically lower than in 2016, when it stood at 85,000.

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She said that "given the decimated refugee admissions program we inherited, and burdens on" a federal office that handles refugees, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Office of Refugee Resettlement, Biden's "initial goal of 62,500 seems unlikely".

During the campaign, Biden vowed to raise the refugee cap to 125,000.

The White House defended the decision by pointing to Trump's destruction of the refugee resettlement program, although resettlement agencies rejected that reasoning, and the situation at the southern US border, which the administration previously spent weeks downplaying.

But while one division of HHS helps manage refugees and asylum seekers, refugees come from overseas and go through a different system than migrants seeking asylum after entering USA territory.

"This leadership is sorely needed", he said.

In October 2020, many humanitarian groups, including the Evangelical Immigration Table, had expressed concerns over Trump's decision to lower the refugee cap.

"We never said we're not raising the refugee cap", Psaki explained.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement "has personnel working on both issues and so we have to ensure that there is capacity and ability to manage both", Psaki added.

Refugee resettlement agencies said it was important that admissions go higher even if it's not possible to meet the target to send a message that America will be a leader again in offering safe haven to the world's oppressed.

Biden's order to limit admissions to 15,000 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 figure as a way to limit immigration.

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