Biden keeps US refugee cap at 15000 rather than raise it

Ruben Fields
April 17, 2021

The White House said Friday that U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to increase the refugee cap for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15.

The Washington state Democrat went on to say, "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". Biden said in the order that the number "remains justified by humanitarian concerns and is otherwise in the national interest".

Secretary of State Antony Blinken notified Congress on February 12 of a plan to raise the ceiling on admissions to 62,500, but no presidential determination followed.

Responding to criticism from Democrats and human rights activists, the United States government on Friday (16) withdrew from maintaining the limit on the number of refugees who can enter the country - in another chapter of the crisis the immigration facing Joe Biden's management.

"Facing the greatest refugee crisis in our time there is no reason to limit the number to 15,000".

"The White House has not only stymied the number of refugees permitted entrance into the United States, but also it has prevented the Department of State from admitting vetted refugees now waiting in the system who do not fit into the unprecedentedly narrow refugee categories designated by the Trump administration", Menendez wrote.

FILE - Residents in support of continued refugee resettlement hold signs at a meeting in Bismarck, N.D., December 9.

Biden aborted his plan to raise the refugee cap from its current historic low of 15,000, to the chagrin of Democratic allies and activists who condemned Trump's policies. The new allocations provide more slots for refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Central America and lift Trump's restrictions on resettlements from Somalia, Syria and Yemen. There is a reserve of 1,000 slots.

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Cook added that the gunman had died and the public is not believed to be in immediate danger. Family members of workers reportedly gathered at a local hotel to await word on loved ones.

The 2021 ceiling is dramatically lower than in 2016, when it stood at 85,000. In the end, however, Biden never signed the presidential decree that would have allowed it.

The Biden administration has been heavily criticized for not doing the same.

"We will use the 15,000 vacancies and work with Congress to increase admissions and get back to the numbers we pledged to", he wrote on his social media.

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

"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", she said. It also bears mentioning that the refugee resettlement program is completely separate from the asylum system, which is what the situation at the border is about, and this administration should not oversimplify the country's immigration system by intentionally confusing these two programs with one another in order to score political points.

And once you meet that definition, you're referred to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.

"Given the decimated refugee admissions program we inherited", she said it's now "unlikely" Biden will be able to boost that number to 62,500, as he had proposed in his plan to Congress two months ago. Bob Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Biden in a letter Friday that his inaction "undermines your declared goal to reverse your predecessor's refugee policies".

But Biden has not issued a presidential determination since his administration notified Congress, as required by law.

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