Biden quadruples Trump refugee cap after delay backlash

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wave as they board Air Force One to depart at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport on Monday in Newport News, Virginia


President Joe Biden on Monday formally raised the nation’s cap on refugee admissions to 62,500 this year, weeks after facing bipartisan blowback for his delay in replacing the record-low ceiling set by former President Donald Trump.

Refugee resettlement agencies have waited for Biden to quadruple the number of refugees allowed into the United States this year since Feb. 12, when a presidential proposal was submitted to Congress saying he planned to do so.

But the presidential determination went unsigned until Monday. Biden said he first needed to expand the narrow eligibility criteria put in place by Trump that had kept out most refugees. He did that last month in an emergency determination. But it also stated that Trump’s cap of up to 15,000 refugees this year “remains justified by humanitarian concerns and is otherwise in the national interest,” indicating Biden intended to keep it.

That brought sharp pushback for not at least taking the symbolic step of authorizing more refugees to enter the United States this year. The second-ranking Senate Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, called that initial limit “unacceptable” and within hours the White House made a quick course correction. The administration vowed to increase the historically low cap by May 15 — but the White House said it probably would not hit the 62,500 Biden had previously outlined.

In the end, Biden returned to that figure.

Biden said he received additional information that led him to sign the emergency presidential determination setting the cap at 62,500.

“It is important to take this action today to remove any lingering doubt in the minds of refugees around the world who have suffered so much, and who are anxiously waiting for their new lives to begin,” Biden stated before signing it.

Biden said Trump’s cap “did not reflect America’s values as a nation that welcomes and supports refugees.”

But he acknowledged the “sad truth” that the United States would not meet the 62,500 cap by the end of the fiscal year in September, given the pandemic and limitations on the country’s resettlement capabilities — some of which his administration has attributed to the Trump administration’s policies to restrict immigration.

The White House insisted it was unable to act until now because the administration was being taxed by a sharp increase in unaccompanied young migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras arriving at the southern U.S. border, though any link between the border and the government’s decision on refugees was not immediately clear. Refugee advocates, including Durbin, accused Biden of playing politics.

Biden said Monday it was important to lift the number to show “America’s commitment to protect the most vulnerable, and to stand as a beacon of liberty and refuge to the world.”

It also paves the way for Biden to boost the cap to 125,000 for the 2022 fiscal year that starts in October.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said work is being done to improve U.S. capabilities to process refugees in order to accept as many of them as possible under the new cap. Since the fiscal year began last Oct. 1, just over 2,000 refugees have been resettled in the United States.

Travel preparations are being made for more than 2,000 refugees who were excluded by Trump’s presidential determination on Oct. 27, 2020.

Refugee resettlement agencies applauded Biden’s action.

“We are absolutely thrilled and relieved for so many refugee families all across the world who look to the U.S. for protection,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, head of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, one of nine resettlement agencies in the nation. “It has a felt like a rollercoaster ride, but this is one critical step toward rebuilding the program and returning the U.S. to our global humanitarian leadership role.”

Biden has also added more slots for refugees from Africa, the Middle East and Central America and ended Trump’s restrictions on resettlements from Somalia, Syria and Yemen.

Some 35,000 refugees have been cleared to go to the United States, and 100,000 remain in the pipeline. Resettlement agencies that closed more than 100 offices during the Trump administration said the cap needed to be raised to unleash resources.

“The way you rebuild capacity is by setting ambitious commitments that signal to domestic and international stakeholders that U.S. leadership is back,” said Nazanin Ash of the International Rescue Committee.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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(12) comments

Bailey Jones

[thumbup] I'm glad Biden backtracked on this. Providing refuge for people in distress is an essential element of the American character and a moral obligation for the world's richest and strongest nation.

Carlos Ponce

"people in distress"???? So you know each of their cases, right? Anyone can demand asylum. Qualifying under the law on the other hand....

David Hardee

The details always reveal the truth to a clown that is taking at face value a media report. this 62500 is only part of the story. these 62500 will not be as you called "people in distress" nor is it the "called "essential workers" category. These are the wealthy that are immigrating to reap the largest of low-hanging money by setting up businesses that are cash-driven. My professional dealings with this category of cash business immigrants are that convenience stores, pool halls, restaurants, pawnshops, and etc. cash businesses are established to migrate money (more wealth) back into the usually wealthy, and using high levels of cash avoid taxes by scurrilous activities. These people understand the IRS first 5-year loss expectation and tolerance and will have no profits or taxes for that period. Often they will declare bankruptcy or close and abscond into oblivion.

Your "people in distress" are some of those illegal caravans that are pouring across the border with the convicts and drugs. The distress of poverty in the place of origin is not that distress intended as a justification for legal immigration. The criteria(s) for immigration between wht was lawful and what is now allowed is an atrocity to both the place of origin and the society that these illegals move into. Having to repetitively recite what makes it an atrocity to the simple-minded progressive liberal is another atrocity. Bidens policy changes and the enticing of the caravans of illegals is not a benevolent act but another of the intentional efforts to re-imagine our society as a sub-servant population that grovels at the Federal trough of entitlements pandered for votes. That is an atrocity and treasonous.

Those that promote borders have no meaning and the immigrant has no qualification and a child is used as a pawn there is a putrid effect on our society.

Disgusting is the Biden administration policies on our plight with what is happening. What is going on does not deserve even the respect of being defined as a policy. It is simply a squishy nothing but chaos.


Charles Douglas

So this is why the LEFT ..lied, stole, deceived and cheated in order put this guy in the Oval Office for huh? He can't even tie his shoes unless somebody helps him, or tell him how. He is in bad trouble if he forgets which pocket he put his black mask in, & on top of it all he is Nancy Pelosi's and AOC'S boy!

I heard him look to the wings of a stage during a meeting he was speaking at some time back, when he bellowed out, " What do you want do now NAN,...I will do whatever you want?" How pathetic! This is the so called leader of the free world, who can't take a restroom break without calling his "ALLIES" ask if it would be orderly, a man who is waiting for others to TELL HIM WHATS RIGHT, AND WHAT'S NEXT! What a guy! What a leader, ...a man who was one of the biggest KKK supporters and surrogates of all times, who hates Minorities so bad he cracked jokes publicly about them, and crafted and pass laws in the U.S. Senate to send them to prison unporportionately!

Joe Biden is a man who has made multi millions from selling out Americans, and America ....and was taken off the JUNK-HEAP, by Barack Obama for political purposes ... is now sitting in the big chair with Pelosi in one ear, and AOC in the other, taking their orders!

He destroyed America's fuel independence the first day he was led to the Oval Office by the stroke of a pen, because he knew it would help XI JINPING! Now gasoline is approacing $5.00 a gallon in some states! His policies of free stuff is causing small busimess to go under for lack of workers who would rather collect free stuff at home than to work! He Opened up the border, and encouraged his Liberal sidekicks to open up the prisons and loose hardened criminals on America while he is busy trying to take our guns we need in order to protect our families! He continues to ride the backs of minorities, while managing them with poor housing, low wages, high crimed neighborhoods, atrocious schools and menial job opportunities! He has even deceived many by his constant outcry of systemic racism in America, even to the indoctrinating of WHITE students to believe they are inherently racist because of skin color, and Minority students to believe they are inherently inferior, and deprived because they are African-American or Hispanic! Yeah! This guy is some kind of wonderful!!!!!!

Jim Forsythe

A shortage of gas may happen, increasing prices, not because a shortage of oil, but because of a shortage of truck drivers. Today, in this area, gas price is about $2.50. The price of gas may go up because of the shortage of truckdrivers.

According to the National Tank Truck Carriers, the industry's trade group, somewhere between 20% to 25% of tank trucks in the fleet are parked heading into this summer due to a lack of qualified drivers. At this point in 2019, only 10% of trucks were sitting idle for that reason.

Lizzie Tish

[thumbup], David and Charles!!

Bailey Jones

David, I think you are profoundly mistaken. Who a "refugee" is, and how they are accepted is codified by US law. You may read up on it here:

Carlos Ponce

Most of the illegals come to the United States to make money. They do not qualify.

"About 80 percent of asylum cases in immigration court are denied or otherwise closed. That figure does not include thousands of people granted asylum outside of court." Verdict: True

They don't apply for legal entry because they know they'll be turned down.

Carlos Ponce

Those claiming "refugee status" are now being coached as to how to present their claims. That's why the Trump administration preferred they make the claim at home in a US Consulate or Embassy - easier to check out their "story".

David Hardee

Sir, to implicate codified "LAW" into anything associated to or with the chaos border security and or those persons entering the USA will gag the thought patterns of a lucid mind. In concession of my respect for you, I will place this one word in your mind to give you an opportunity to criticize yourself - VETTING.

What has been codified is now the words the progressive liberal bureaucrats will process into their perception of meaning while they swoon to make a gender/racist/sexual orientation WOK interpretation of its meaning.

Please, when you read and understand the traditional meaning of codified US law compare that understanding to the actual operations under these Biden directives. If that comparison does not expose the fallacies between intended purpose and execution the cavern between us is unbridgeable.

Now that your ilk has achieved so many victories and is in control expound and celebrate by pointing out the fabulous results we are enjoying, The actual result please, and not the hypotheticals destine in the future as imagined from Biden's handlers. I'll start you off with - We are thrilled with Biden's handling of the vaccinations by folloeing the script Trump gave him. Please add other RESULTS.

Charles Douglas

Ahhh I am very perplexed, shocked, appalled, and dismayed to hear that Red China manufactures, and sell to us as much as 80 percent of America's pharmaceutical drugs used by Americans in this nation! I wish I could understand why the powers that be in this nation insists on helping the Chineses to get to a dominant position of.power, where the JACK-BOOT foot of Communism rests on the neck of America! I really don't understand the LIBERAL mindset concerning this, why they scurry to protect China at all costs, even baseball, basketball, and Hollywood covers for them! China is the number one threat & enemy of America who was so jealous of Trump's outrageously successful economy that they resulted to biological warfare by releasing the COVID virus on the world shutting it down. Then of All things ....they were allowed to be in position to sell medical supplies, and drugs to the world THEY hurt, who needed the supplies to combat the sickness that came from China! Something is not lining up here!

Charles Douglas

Another thing! Hear me nowwwww! D.J. Trump will return, and who will it be who will be caught of guard, supporting socialism? Who will be in that number Trump catches stepping on the Constitution? Something to think about! So thrn MAGA, ..&...KAG! [beam][innocent][tongue_smile]

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