Health Care

Refugee Intake: Biden To Keep Low Limit Set By Trump Administration

Refugee Intake: Biden To Keep Low Limit Set By Trump Administration”

Pramila Jayapal, the co-chair of the White House Caucus, had denounced the White House on Friday after its initial decision to keep the refugee cap at 15,000.

Nada, 12, fled Syria with her parents and six siblings and found safety in Jordan's Za'atari Refugee Camp.

Refugee advocates said they were disappointed by the news, saying it was unjustified given that there are 35,000 refugees who have already been security vetted and cleared for entry to the United States and that there are 100,000 at various stages in the pipeline. So, the fact that the refugee ceiling is 15,000 means that it's not only the lowest number ever set in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, but it effectively shuts out many deserving refugees from being able to be reunited with their loved ones in the United States.

"It is a factor", said Psaki, noting that the Office of Refugee Resettlement "does management and has personnel working on both issues and so we have to ensure that there is capacity and ability to manage both".

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote a letter to Biden, urging him to follow through on his campaign promise and raise the refugee ceiling.

"For the past few weeks, he has been consulting with his advisors to determine what number of refugees could realistically be admitted to the United States between now and October 1", Psaki said in the written statement.

The White House issued a statement Friday saying Biden would set a "final, increased refugee cap" by May 15 for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Following outcry, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Democratic president's directive had been the "subject of some confusion".

Democrats blasted Friday's announcement in unusually strong criticism of a president from their own party.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "Completely and utterly unacceptable".

Refugee admissions reached historic lows under Trump, who portrayed refugees as a security threat and made limiting the number of immigrants allowed into the United States a hallmark of his presidency.

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, who herself is a refugee from Somalia, called Biden's decision "shameful".

More news: Biden to pull US troops from Afghanistan by 11 September, sources say

That logic was also used by the Trump administration to sharply cut refugee numbers, even though it is not quite so simple. "President Biden has broken his promise to restore our humanity".

The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, one of the agencies involved in refugee resettlement in the U.S., had slammed the earlier decision by Biden, saying that while it understands ramping up admissions "can seem daunting", it opposed the Biden administration's move. "Last week, he sent to Congress his budget for the fiscal year starting in October 2021, which honors his commitment".

What did the White House say later?

Mark Hetfield, president and CEO of HIAS, an worldwide Jewish humanitarian organization that provides services to refugees and asylum-seekers in 16 countries, said in a statement that Biden had broken his "repeated promises to significantly raise this year's refugee admissions cap". "Now we will work to make sure the cap isn't too low, meets the scale of the refugee crisis and our obligations for refugee resettlement". The refugee program offers a pathway for people to apply overseas to resettle in the United States. "Say it ain't so, President Joe", Durbin said in a statement.

If anything, keeping a historically low refugee admissions cap in place could exacerbate the situation at the border, according to Dr. Austin Kocher, a research professor at Syracuse University, who said the decision could "prompt still more refugees to attempt to come through the asylum system, placing an even heavier burden on the US immigration court system".

Psaki said Friday that Biden did not act right away because "it took us some time to see and evaluate how ineffective, or how trashed in some ways, the refugee processing system had become, and so we had to rebuild some of those muscles and put it back in place".

The White House later said Mr Biden would raise the refugee cap next month.

"Failing to issue a new Determination undermines your declared objective to reverse your predecessor's refugee policies", the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee wrote in a letter to Biden.

The senior administration official said the United States would use all 15,000 slots and that officials were prepared to consult with Congress should there be a need to increase the number to address unforeseen emergencies.

The carved-out slots include room for 7,000 Africans; 1,000 East Asians; 1,500 Europeans and Central Asians; and 3,000 Latin Americans and Caribbeans.

The senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, forecast "much increased admissions numbers in future years".



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