Refugee Intake: Biden To Keep Low Limit Set By Trump Administration

'Unacceptable and unconscionable': Top progressives outraged Biden won't raise refugee cap

"If the current pace of admissions continues - and if the Trump administration's admissions policies remain in place - the Biden administration will admit an estimated 4,510 refugees in FY21, less than half of the a year ago of the Trump administration and fewer than any President in history".

The action does not require congressional approval and past presidents have issued such presidential determinations that set the cap on refugee admissions shortly after the notification to Congress.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that the delay in Biden acting was because "it took us some time to see and evaluate how ineffective, or how trashed in some ways the refugee processing system had become, and so we had to rebuild some of those muscles and put it back in place".

Biden had been expected to raise the refugee cap to 62,500 in fiscal year 2021, but his team concluded that target "seems unlikely" - a shortfall that the administration blamed on the state of the refugee program in the wake of the Trump years. AP's earlier story follows below.

President Joe Biden's apparent retention of the refugee cap set by former President Donald Trump has halted the admission of "vetted refugees now waiting in the system", according to a senior Senate Democrat. The administration has indicated he may still do so.

Biden instead signed an emergency determination to adjust the allocation limits imposed by Trump that have disqualified a significant number of refugees, including those fleeing war. But Biden was concerned that lifting the Trump-era cap on refugees would overwhelm the already-strapped system, according to two senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss decision-making. The carved-out slots include room for 7,000 Africans; 1,000 East Asians; 1,500 Europeans and Central Asians; and 3,000 Latin Americans and Caribbeans. Upholding the xenophobic and racist policies of the Trump admin, incl the historically low + plummeted refugee cap, is flat out wrong.

"Resettlement serves as a critical tool in providing protection to those fleeing persecution because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion", the senator wrote.

The Biden administration had recently stated it wanted to allow in some 60,000 refugees annually, ramping up to double the following year.

According to the report, midway through the 2021 fiscal year, only 2,050 refugees had been admitted to the United States, marking a "new historical low".


In a speech to the state department in February, Mr Biden vowed to raise the figure to 125,000 within the next budget year.

While running for president, Biden promised to reverse much of the immigration policies of the Trump administration.

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez urged Biden to act.

"Failing to issue a new Determination undermines your declared objective to reverse your predecessor's refugee policies", the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wrote in a letter to Biden. Biden embraces the core values that have made us who we are and will prioritize restoring refugee admissions in line with our historic practice under both Democratic and Republican Administrations.

During a news conference on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also urged Biden to increase the number of refugees admitted into the U.S. while defending the Biden administration's response to the surge of migrants at the US's border with Mexico. There is a reserve of 1,000 slots. Trump limited most spots for people fleeing religious persecution, Iraqis who have assisted U.S. forces there, and people from Central America's Northern Triangle.

In March, at least 172,000 migrants were stopped at the US-Mexico border - the most in 20 years - and many were unaccompanied children.

Some 35,000 refugees have been cleared to go to the United States, and 100,000 remain in the pipeline and their lives remain in limbo, said David Miliband, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee.

The House Democrats insisted that the U.S. keeps its promises "to people who have fled unthinkably brutal conditions in their home countries and live up to our ambition to provide them a safe haven to re-start their lives".

They said there is still an incredible need that Biden's decision will not address.

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