The White House today proposed an increase in the annual refugee admissions ceiling, from 62,500 to 125,000 for fiscal year 2022 which starts October 1. President Biden previously raised the ceiling to 62,500 from a record low of 15,000 set by President Trump.
State Department Spokesperson, Ned Price, said in a statement on Monday that President Biden had sent a report to Congress detailing his intention to open up the country to refugees in an effort to “address needs generated by humanitarian crises around the globe.” It is written in law that Biden must consult with Congress before making the decision about how many refugees to allow into the country each year.
The increase is seen as Biden making good on his promise to raise refugee limits – in a campaign in which he criticized former President Trump saying “it was un-American and a failure to live up to the country’s long standing obligation as a place of refuge for people around the world.”
Immigration advocates have praised the move but called out that immigration agencies would have to employ thousands more staff to process the increase in cases. Under President Trump, the government agencies and nonprofit organizations which manage refugee resettlement were dramatically shrunk because of the low cap placed on the program. This, along with the COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in lower than expected refugee resettlements this year – only around 7,500 out of a cap of 62,500.
The news comes weeks after tens of thousands of Afghan refugees were brought the U.S. as part the evacuation efforts in Kabul. Most of these families have been granted the ability to live and work in the U.S. temporarily under a humanitarian program that does not consider them to be official refugees. Some may ultimately apply for asylum to stay in the United States permanently, and the Biden administration is seeking a way, through congress, to pass a law to set them on a special path to citizenship.
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© Margaret W. Wong & Associates 2021. The above text is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.