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Biden raises refugee cap to 62,500 after blowback

“I am revising the United States’ annual refugee admissions cap to 62,500 for this fiscal year,” Biden mentioned in a prolonged assertion Monday. “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 mentioned he plans to set a objective of 125,000 refugee admissions for fiscal 12 months 2022 as properly, in step with a dedication he made in his first international coverage tackle on the State Department.

Monday’s announcement will get the administration again to its preliminary proposal that was launched in February. The administration abruptly reversed course final month, when it introduced that Biden would signal an emergency dedication that saved this 12 months’s refugee cap at 15,000, however not elevate it as he had dedicated to doing. The transfer confronted fast blowback from refugee teams and Democratic lawmakers pissed off by the sudden shift.

Monday, Biden mentioned taking motion on the cap will “remove any lingering doubt in the minds of refugees around the world who have suffered so much, and who are anxiously waiting for their new lives to begin.”

“The sad truth is that we will not achieve 62,500 admissions this year,” the President continued. “We are working quickly to undo the damage of the last four years. It will take some time, but that work is already underway.”

Biden additionally mentioned his objective of 125,000 refugee admissions inside the first fiscal 12 months of his presidency “will still be hard to hit.”

“We might not make it the first year. But we are going to use every tool available to help these fully-vetted refugees fleeing horrific conditions in their home countries,” he continued. Refugee caps are sometimes seen as a objective to be reached.

As of March 31, solely 2,050 refugees had been admitted to the United States this fiscal 12 months below Trump’s 15,000 cap, in accordance to the Refugee Processing Center, which is a part of the State Department.

Four families separated at the US-Mexico border under Trump to be reunited this week
The admissions ceiling is damaged down into regional allocations, together with 22,000 slots for Africa, 6,000 for East Asia, 4,000 for Europe and Central Asia, 5,000 for Latin America and the Caribbean,13,000 for Near East and South Asia, and a reserve of 12,500.
Last month, the White House backtracked after Biden described the inflow of migrant kids on the nation’s southern border as a “crisis,” in what appeared to be a notable shift in language.

“We’re gonna increase the numbers. The problem was that the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up on the border with young people and we couldn’t do two things at once. And now we’re going to increase the numbers,” Biden mentioned on the time.

CNN beforehand reported Biden resisted signing off on elevating the Trump-era refugee cap due to political optics. The President’s hesitation got here because the administration confronted warmth from Republicans and Democrats for its dealing with of an inflow of migrants on the US-Mexico border. But the state of affairs on the US southern border is separate from the refugee program, which dates again a long time and has a radical vetting course of in place for refugees abroad to resettle within the US.

CNN’s Jake Tapper requested Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Monday whether or not politics performed an element within the administration’s waffling on the problem.

“Why was there such so much back and forth about this refugee cap? Was the hesitancy just about politics?” Tapper mentioned.

“The President has been committed to the refugee program and to rebuilding it and regaining our status as a world leader in the refugee affairs since day one, and that has been unwavering. We’re very proud of the announcement today, and it reflects that enduring commitment,” Mayorkas replied.

Refugee advocates applauded Monday’s announcement.

“President Biden has reaffirmed what so many Americans have long known — refugees are welcome here and are a blessing to our communities. The new admissions ceiling reflects our core values as a welcoming nation, and finally aligns public policy with the unprecedented global need of millions forced from their home by violence, war, and persecution,” mentioned Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, in an announcement.

David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, echoed that, saying: “When America welcomes refugees it is the best of America, leaning on its distinguished tradition and long-held values of providing refuge to those fleeing violence and political persecution.”

CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.

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