President Joe Biden is amending refugee admission policies after receiving push back from Democrats and immigration advocates for keeping former President Donald Trump’s 15,000 refugee cap for Africa and the Middle East.
“It is simply unacceptable and unconscionable that the Biden Administration is not immediately repealing Donald Trump’s harmful, xenophobic, and racist refugee cap that cruelly restricts refugee admissions to a historically low level,” Representative Pramila Jayapal said.
“By failing to sign an Emergency Presidential Determination to lift Trump’s historically low refugee cap, President Biden has broken his promise to restore our humanity,” Jaypal said.
“As a refugee, I know finding a home is a matter of life or death for children around the world,” tweeted Rep. Ilham Omar, herself a refugee whose family fled Somalia’s civil war in the 1990s. “It is shameful that @POTUS is reneging on a key promise to welcome refugees.”
President Biden plans to speed up admissions and reopen the refugee program to at-risk migrants worldwide.
“In its February consultation with Congress, the Biden administration expressed an intention to raise the refugee resettlement ceiling to 62,500 for this fiscal year, but officials have now suggested that capacity constraints have compelled them to maintain the current ceiling,” Eric P. Shwartz, president of Refugees International, said
Before Friday’s reversal, Democrats in Congress pressed Biden to formalize the 62,500 refugee cap.
“We must keep our 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,” more than 40 House Democrats wrote in a letter to Biden, issued shortly before the White House’s decision.