Biden increases cap on refugee admissions post criticisms from lawmakers
WILMINGTON (US) – Following criticisms from Democratic lawmakers for agreeing to keep the figures of refugees low, President Joe Biden said that he will raise the cap on the number of refugees admitted this year to the United States. He signed a order extending a 15,000 refugee admissions cap issued by his predecessor
however, he has shelved a plan announced in February to increase the cap to 62,500. “We are going to increase the number. Problem was the refugee part was working on the crisis that ended up at the border with young people. We couldn’t do two things at once, so now we are going to raise the number,” Biden said.
With Biden being criticized by lawmakers and refugee advocacy groups, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that he planned to “set a final, increased refugee cap for the remainder of this fiscal year by May 15.” Psaki added that Biden’s “initial goal of 62,500 seems unlikely given the decimated refugee admissions program we inherited.”
Biden’s order to limit admissions to 15,000 was a blow to advocacy groups that wanted the Democratic president to move swiftly to reverse the refugee policies of the Republican Trump, who had set the figure in part as a way to limit immigration.
Biden’s cautious approach appears to have been tied to concerns over the optics of admitting more refugees at a time of rising numbers of migrants arriving at the US-Mexico border, and to not wanting to look “too open” or “soft,” another US official with knowledge of the matter said.
Republicans have blamed Biden for the situation at the border, faulting his moves to reverse other Trump-era hardline immigration policies.
Biden took office aiming to set a new course for U.S. immigration policy, including a more compassionate approach. But his initial decision to leave in place the caps went against his promises as a candidate.