Biden promises to raise refugee admission ceiling, but offers few details | Human rights news


Rights groups and lawmakers have criticized the US president for his previous plan to keep the Trump-era limit in place for 2021.

US President Joe Biden has vowed to raise a cap on the number of refugees admitted to the United States this fiscal year, after in the face of widespread criticism from rights groups and members of his own Democratic Party for initially planning to delay the move.

In brief comments to reporters on Saturday, however, the US president provided few details on his plan to raise the refugee resettlement limit from a historic low of 15,000 set by his predecessor, Donald Trump.

“We will increase the number,” Biden said, as reported by Reuters news agency.

“The problem was that the refugee party was working on the crisis that ended at the border with young people. We couldn’t do two things at the same time, so now we’re going to increase the number.

After being reprimanded for planning to keep the 15,000 limit in place, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday that the Biden administration was planning will announce its new refugee admission limit by May 15.

Biden had previously promised to raise the cap to 62,500 this fiscal year, which ends September 30, but Psaki said that goal now seemed unlikely due to the damage done to the resettlement system under Trump.

The US refugee resettlement program and asylum at the southern border of the country are two different issues, dealt with by different sections of the US government.

Refugee advocates had urged Biden, who has been criticized by Republicans for the situation on the US-Mexico border, to keep his promise to raise the refugee ceiling.

They pointed to tens of thousands of refugees who have already been cleared into the United States but who have been left waiting in camps, often at great risk.

But several resettlement agencies raised concerns this week amid an apparent delay to Biden by signing a presidential statement that would have allowed them to begin their work of bringing refugees to the United States.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) said in a report this month that without raising the cap, Biden was on track to admit the lowest number of refugees this year among all U.S. presidents in history.

Only 2,050 have been admitted to the country so far, the group said, while more than 700 refugees who had been authorized to travel to the United States have had their flights canceled due to the delay in increasing the ceiling for ‘admission.

Biden said he plans to allow up to 125,000 refugees to come to the United States in 2022, the first full fiscal year of his administration.

Refugee advocates have welcomed the administration’s promises, saying they mark a significant shift from Trump’s sweeping policies, which severely curtailed the U.S. refugee resettlement program.

But they were outraged by Friday’s announcement that the Trump-era cap would remain in place for 2021, saying “The damage caused by the delay cannot be overstated.”





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