Biden Admin to Lift Refugee Cap After Facing Backlash From Democrats For Keeping Trump Era Admissions Levels
Do you support or oppose raising the refugee admission cap above 15,000 for FY2021?
by Causes | 4.17.21
What’s the story?
- The Biden administration on Friday announced its plan to keep the U.S. refugee admission cap for fiscal year 2021 at 15,000 refugees ― the level set by the Trump administration ― but backtracked later in the day and pledged to raise the cap next month following pushback from Democrats.
- The White House’s initial announcement of the 15,000 refugee cap allocated 7,000 slots to refugees from Africa; 3,000 from Latin America and the Caribbean; 1,500 from Europe and Central Asia; 1,500 from the Near East and South Asia; 1,000 from East Asia; and an unallocated reserve of 1,000.
- Biden’s announcement of the 15,000 refugee cap said the level “remains justified by humanitarian concerns and is otherwise in the national interest.” That sparked criticism from Democrats, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) who said:
“This cruel policy is no more acceptable now than it was during the Trump administration. TO be clear: the asylum process at the southern border and the refugee process are completely separate immigration systems. Conflating the two constitutes caving to the politics of fear.”
- In February, Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicated the Biden administration planned to raise the cap on refugee admissions to 62,500 ― but President Joe Biden didn’t take executive action to implement it. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said the inaction “undermines your declared purpose to reverse your predecessor’s refugee policies.”
- Following the backlash, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki released a statement saying that the Biden administration will “set a final, increased refugee cap for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15” but noted that the “initial goal of 62,500 seems unlikely.”
- Refugee admissions dropped during the Trump administration from 53,691 in 2017 to 22,405 in 2018 and 29,916 in 2019, as this USAFacts chart shows:
- This USAFacts chart shows refugee admissions by region of origin:
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: The White House via Flickr / Public Domain)
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