President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he plans to raise the annual refugee admissions ceiling to 125,000 in the 12-month period beginning October 1, up from the 15,000 cap proposed by the previous administration.
The president accused his predecessor of damaging the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program by lowering the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States, adding that restoring the program will take time.
“It’s going to take time to rebuild what has been so badly damaged, but that’s precisely what we’re going to do,” he declared during a speech Thursday at the U.S. State Department, adding:
Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 will run from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022.
Today, I’m approving an executive order to begin the hard work of restoring our refugee admissions program to help meet the unprecedented global need. … This executive order will position us to be able to raise the refugee admissions back up to 125,000 persons for the first full fiscal year  of the Biden-Harris administration.
Biden indicated that his administration will push to raise the refugee admissions cap this year above 15,000.
He directed the U.S. State Department, which handles the refugee program, to work with Congress on “making a down payment” on raising the admissions cap “as soon as possible.”
That means the Biden administration could welcome more refugees amid the pandemic ravaging American communities and damaging the country’s economy, potentially flooding the already struggling labor market with more low skilled workers.
While campaigning and soon after he was elected, Biden pledged to raise the refugee cap to 125,000 shortly after taking office.
It appears he will not be able to keep that promise. Still, some pro-immigration groups, such as the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), welcomed the move “as a first step in undoing Trump’s legacy.”
President Biden indicated that restoring the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program after the previous administration gutted it will take time.
“It’s going to take time to rebuild what has been so badly damaged, but that’s precisely what we’re going to do,” he declared.
Former President Donald Trump proposed resettling up to 15,000 refugees, the lowest level in decades, in fiscal year 2021, a report to Congress posted on the State Department website noted, adding:
This proposed refugee admissions ceiling reflects the continuing backlog of over 1.1 million asylum-seekers who are awaiting adjudication of their claims inside the United States, and it accounts for the arrival of refugees whose resettlement in the United States was delayed due to the COVID-19 [coronavirus disease] pandemic.
Biden also announced that he was issuing a presidential memo to agencies to “reinvigorate our leadership on the LGBTQI issues and do it internationally.”
He said his administration would ensure America’s diplomacy and taxpayer-funded foreign assistance works to promote the rights of the LGBTQI community across the world, including protecting those who seek refuge and asylum in the U.S.
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