After Blowback From Allies, WH Says Biden Will Move to Lift Trump's Refugee Caps Next Month



After blowback from allies, White House says President Biden will move to lift Trump-era refugee caps next month.

Earlier on Friday, Biden signed an emergency determination that officials said would speed refugee admissions to the U.S., but he did not immediately lift his predecessor's historically low cap of 15,000 refugees for this year.

Biden, instead, indicated he was adjusting the allocation limits set by former President Donald Trump, which officials said have been the driving factor in limiting refugee admissions. 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.

Since the fiscal year began on Oct. 1, just over 2,000 refugees have been resettled in the U.S. A senior administration official said Biden's new allocations could result in speedier admissions of already screened and vetted refugees in a manner of days.

More than two months ago, Biden pledged to raise the refugee cap for the next fiscal year to 125,000 and signaled he would try to make a “down payment” on that this year, but acknowledged it wouldn't be easy.

“It’s going to take time to rebuild what has been so badly damaged, but that’s precisely what we’re going to do,” Biden said in February at the State Department.

Biden's decision to leave the low cap in place drew immediate condemnation from leaders within his own party. 

The Senate's top foreign policy Democrat on Friday ripped into the White House for maintaining Trump's refugee cap even as Dems had lobbied hard for the admission figure to be raised.

As The Hill reported, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez released a letter he'd sent to President Biden warning of the repercussions of not raising the refugee cap.

“By failing to issue a revised Determination, 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 currently waiting in the system who do not fit into the unprecedentedly narrow refugee categories designated by the Trump administration,” the New Jersey Dem wrote, according to the news outlet's report Friday afternoon.



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