Refugee advocates clashed with U.S. President Joe Biden last month after returning to a plan to raise the admissions limit.
Joe Biden raises U.S. refugee admission limit to 62,500 for this fiscal year after refugee advocates assassinated the U.S. president last month for going back an earlier promise to increase the limit.
In a statement on Monday, Biden said the new cap “would strengthen efforts already underway to expand U.S. capacity to admit refugees,” as well as help his administration meet the stated goal of admitting 125,000 refugees a year fiscal 2022.
“This erases the historically low number set by the previous administration of 15,000, which did not reflect American values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees,” Biden’s statement says.
Donald Trump had set the US refugee admission limit at 15,000 – a historic low – as well as establishing additional restrictions restricting resettlement criteria in the country.
In February, just weeks after taking office, Biden had promised to raise the admissions limit to 62,500 for fiscal year 2021, which will run until the end of September.
But the U.S. president reaffirmed that commitment last month, saying his administration would for the time being leave the Trump-era limit.
This announcement provoked the anger of refugee advocates, as well as members of Biden’s own Democratic Party, who demanded that he immediately raise the limit to allow refugees with an extreme need for protection to come to the U.S.
Amid the influx of criticism, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden would revisit the issue with a view to establishing a “definitive and increased refugee limit for the rest of the country.” fiscal year on May 15. “
The Biden administration had said Trump avoided the refugee resettlement system and that time would be needed to rebuild it. In his statement Monday, Biden said, “The sad truth is that we will not get 62,500 admissions this year.”
However, he added: “We are working quickly to undo the damage of the last four years. It will take some time, but this work is already underway.”
The International Committee on Rescue (IRC) said in a report in April that, without raising the limit, Biden was on track to admit the lowest number of refugees this year of any U.S. president. history.
IRC President and CEO David Miliband welcomed Biden’s announcement Monday as “good for the United States and good for refugees.”
GOOD NEWS: President Biden has raised refugee incomes to 62,500 for fiscal year 21. 👏
We defend the United States and the world #Refugees Welcome-always. This ad not only keeps a promise; it is a step toward rebuilding the American welcome. Month: https://t.co/iAgIT8gw8m pic.twitter.com/MvfKyPFei2
– IRC – International Rescue Committee (@RESCUEorg) May 3, 2021
“We welcome the bold steps to regain refugee protection after four years of deeply damaging policy,” Miliband said in a statement.
“The road to rebuilding ourselves is long and we will continue to face challenges, but at IRC we are ready to raise our hands and work with the administration to return America to a position of global leadership in the protection of refugees “.
U.S. refugee resettlement agencies had said last month that they were ready to begin the process of introducing refugees into the country, but were only waiting for Biden to sign a presidential determination to officially raise the limit and make the process pull. us.
“It’s a signature we need to separate all these people from security,” Erol Kekic, director of the immigration and refugee program at Church World Service, one of nine national refugee resettlement agencies in the U.S. he told Al Jazeera In that moment.